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Georgia unemployment rate rises to 10.2 percent

ATLANTA (AP) -- Georgia's jobless rate rose to 10.2 percent in August, the highest level in the past six months, state officials announced Thursday.

The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for August was up one-tenth of a percentage point from 10.1 percent in July, Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said.

Georgia's jobless rate was also 10.2 percent in August a year ago, officials said.

Butler said in a statement that the jobless numbers increased because about 5,500 new job seekers, as well as more people already unemployed, were unable to find work.

August marked the 49th consecutive month that Georgia has exceeded the national unemployment rate, which is 9.1 percent.

The number of jobs in Georgia increased 7,300 in August to 3,801,000, or two tenths of a percentage point. State officials attribute most of that gain to seasonal workers in the public school systems who returned to work after being off for the summer.

There were also some job increases in professional and business services, education and health care, and construction.

"I'm encouraged that we're seeing an increase in manufacturing, which is very important to the health of our state's economy," Butler said in a statement.

"Despite a drop in the number of manufacturing jobs from July to August, Georgia has gained 2,400 manufacturing jobs in the last 12 months," he said.