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Newton, Rockdale unemployment increases

COVINGTON -- Unemployment in both Newton and Rockdale increased in June, keeping up with the state and nationwide trend following graduation season, when there's an influx of new job seekers.

Georgia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for June was 9 percent; not seasonally adjusted, which means not accounting for seasonal workers, the rate was 9.6 percent.

Both Newton and Rockdale unemployment rates were at 10.7 percent. County rates are not seasonally adjusted. Newton's rate has increased by nearly 1 percent since May but is down from 12.1 percent last June.

Rockdale's rate is an increase from 9.9 percent in May and a decrease from 11.5 percent the same time last year.

The state rate is up one-tenth of a percentage point from 8.9 percent in May, the first increase in almost a year. The jobless rate was 9.9 percent in June a year ago.

"The unemployment rate traditionally inches up in June because new graduates and people hunting summer jobs enter the job market at the same time the private and public schools are laying off for the summer," said State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler.

The number of jobs dropped by 8,200, or two-tenths of a percentage point, from 3,941,500 in May to 3,933,300 in June.

"The June job loss is a lot less than we anticipated, based on recent trends," said Butler, "and despite the overall loss, we gained 1,500 manufacturing jobs and 900 in construction. This is encouraging."

While Georgia lost 8,200 jobs, the state has averaged losing 27,100 jobs between May and June since 2008.

The state's labor force increased to 4,758,610 in June, up from 4,757,140 in May. Georgia's labor force has increased 13 of the past 14 months, while the national labor force has increased eight of the past 14 months. The national unemployment rate is 8.2 percent.

There were 48,879 first-time claims for unemployment insurance benefits in Georgia in June, up 2,116, or 4.5 percent, from May. However, initial claims declined over the year, dropping by 10,102, or 17.1 percent, from 58,981 in June 2011.

The long-term unemployed, those out of work for more than 26 weeks, make up 53.4 percent of those unemployed in Georgia.