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Unemployment rates remain mostly unchanged

COVINGTON -- Unemployment rates in Newton and Rockdale counties are holding steady, according to data released by the Georgia Department of Labor.

Newton County's unemployment rate was 9.8 percent for May, reports the GDOL. Out of a workforce of 48,201, there are 4,730 people unemployed. The rate was 9.9 percent in April, and dropped from 11.2 percent in May 2011.

Rockdale County's unemployment rate was 9.9 percent in May, with a labor force of 41,969 and 4,163 unemployed. Rockdale's rate was 9.8 percent in April and 10.6 percent in May of last year.

The state's jobless rate remains unchanged from April to May at 8.9 percent, the first time in 10 months that the jobless rate has failed to decline. The jobless rate was 9.8 percent in May a year ago.

"Although the unemployment rate held steady, we now have the fewest jobless workers receiving unemployment insurance benefits since the start of the recession in 2007, and the numbers of new layoffs and long-term unemployed are down," said Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. "And, more good news is that our job growth continues. We added 16,400 new jobs in May, and we have 34,000 more jobs than in May a year ago. Fortunately, the growth is in some of our key industries."

The number of jobs increased to 3,944,900 in May, the most since December 2008.

The industries showing growth from April to May were trade, transportation and warehousing, with 6,000 new jobs; leisure and hospitality, with 5,000 new jobs; manufacturing, with 3,000 new jobs; education and health care, with 2,200 new jobs; and construction with 800 new jobs. Government shed 1,300 jobs, mostly in educational services.

In May, there were 73,621 recipients of unemployment insurance benefits. The number of initial claims filed in May declined by 729, or 1.5 percent, to 46,763. Most of the decrease in claims came across-the-board in trade, services, manufacturing and construction. Initial claims also declined over the year, down 8,080, or 14.7 percent, from 54,843 in May 2011.

The number of long-term unemployed workers decreased by 3,600 in May to 236,900. The long-term unemployed, those out of work for more than 26 weeks, make up 55.7 percent of all unemployed in Georgia. However, the number of long-term unemployed is down 14,900, or 5.9 percent, from May 2011.

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