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Rockdale's jobless rate remains higher than state's

CONYERS -- Unemployment statistics statewide are a mixed bag, with a slight increase in the unemployment rate, but a net gain in jobs, based on a Georgia Department of Labor report for August.

The state's unemployment rate increased to 10.2 percent in August, the highest level in six months.

Rockdale County's unemployment rate remains higher than the state average at 11.9 percent. Neighboring Newton's unemployment rate is even higher at 12.7 percent. According to the Department of Labor, Rockdale has a workforce of 39,866, with 4,753 unemployed. Those statistics are for the month of July, the most recent data available. Newton has a labor force of 46,587, with 5,910 unemployed.

The number of jobs in Georgia increased by 7,300 in August, to 3,801,000, mainly among seasonal workers in the public school system who returned to work after being laid off for the summer. Job increases occurred in professional and business services, education, health care and construction.

Georgia has gained 2,400 manufacturing jobs in the last year.

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

However, new job seekers numbered 5,500 and a larger percentage of unemployed people were unable to find work. There was a decrease in leisure and hospitality industries, especially in accommodations and food services and wholesale and retail trade.

The number of long-term unemployed workers increased by 3,000 to 254,100. The long-term unemployed account for nearly 53 percent of Georgia's 482,321 jobless workers.

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