Ga. unemployment rate hits record high

The Georgia Department of Labor reported Thursday that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to a record-high preliminary 8.6 percent in January.

This is the highest seasonally adjusted rate recorded in Georgia since 1976, when the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics standardized unemployment rates among all states, according to a news release.

“We are officially sailing in uncharted economic waters,” State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond said in the release. “Georgia is in the midst of a severe economic downturn. Times are difficult, but not hopeless. All Georgians must work together to meet and overcome these unprecedented challenges.”

The previous record high was 8.3 percent, recorded in January 1983, the release stated. At present, 412,770 unemployed Georgians are looking for work, an increase of 62.9 percent over the year.

Georgia’s unemployment rate remained above the national rate of 7.6 percent for the 15th consecutive month.

Although the unemployment rate has not yet been prepared for each metropolitan area, the job losses in Macon were 99,700 in January 2009, down from 100,300 in January a year ago. In Warner Robins, job losses were 57,600 last month, down from 58,800 in January 2008.