Georgia's jobless rate rises to record-breaking 9.3 percent in February

Georgia’s unemployment rate rose to an all-time high 9.3 percent in February, breaking the record set in January, the state Department of Labor reported Thursday.

“For the second consecutive month, Georgia suffered from record unemployment,” Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond said in a news release. “Times are difficult, but not hopeless. I encourage all Georgians to keep the faith. Don’t give in, don’t give up, and don’t give out.”

Also Thursday, the Labor Department released yearly job loss numbers for the state’s metropolitan areas. The metro Macon area reported 2,800 job losses since last February, a decline of 2.8 percent. The Warner Robins area lost 2,200 jobs, a drop of 3.8 percent.

Georgia’s previous jobless rate high was the revised 8.5 percent for January reported last month. February’s rate was up 3.9 percent over this time a year ago, when unemployment was 5.4 percent. Currently, 445,498 unemployed Georgians are looking for work, an increase of 69.2 percent over the year, the release said. Of that number, 159,359 are receiving unemployment insurance benefits.