Georgia’s unemployment rate jumped to 10.1 percent in November from a revised 9.8 percent in October, the state labor department said Thursday.
There has been virtually no progress from a year ago, when the jobless rate stood at 10.2 percent in November 2009. This November was the 38th consecutive month that Georgia’s jobless rate has exceeded the national rate, which is 9.8 percent.
“The unemployment rate is up because of increases in new layoffs and in the number of long-term unemployed,” state Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond said in a statement.
There were 252,200 long-term unemployed in November — those who have been out of work for at least 27 weeks, the labor department said. This represents an increase of 4.8 percent from October and 59.8 percent from November 2009.
The long-term unemployed now account for 53.7 percent of the 469,702 jobless workers in Georgia. A year ago, the long-term jobless represented 32.9 percent of the unemployed.
While some see a glimmer of hope in scant growth, jobs will still be scarce in 2011. Is an unemployment number that hovers in the 9% the new normal?
According to Terry College’s Selig Center for Economic Growth, Georgia’s economy grew by a sluggish 1 percent this year, as the state started to recover from the longest recession since World War II.
That growth rate is expected to pick up to 2.3 percent next year, matching growth in the national economy for the first time in seven years. The recession hit Georgia harder than most of the U.S. because of the state’s overdependence on residential construction and real estate development.
[Robert Sumichrast, dean of The University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business] …said the economic sectors likely to experience the most growth in Georgia next year are business services, including employment agencies, transportation and warehousing, and even manufacturing, which has fallen off dramatically in recent years.
He said construction will continue to suffer, along with state and local government jobs, which will be the victim of more budget cuts.
Sumichrast’s prediction of a gradual recovery was echoed by David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor’s, who delivered the national outlook for 2011.
“This is a half-speed expansion,” he said. “[But] half a recovery is better than none.”
Wyss said the only developments that could sidetrack slow growth would be an unexpected disruption of oil supplies, an outbreak of war triggered by a rogue state like North Korea, a major default by one of the financially struggling European countries or a “stupid” decision by the new Congress.
Don’t count out that last statement.