ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Labor announced today that Metro Augusta’s unemployment rate increased to 7 percent in May, up seven-tenths of a percentage point from 6.3 percent in April. The rate was 8 percent in May a year ago.
According to a news release, the rate increased as 1,300 jobs were lost in the leisure and hospitality sector, due largely to seasonal layoffs after the Masters Golf Tournament. The loss of jobs was partially offset by the gain of 800 new jobs in the professional and business services sector. Overall, the number of jobs decreased by 700, or 0.3 percent, to 220,900 in May from 221,600 in April.
However, over the year, the number of jobs increased by 1,300, or 0.6 percent, from 219,600 in May 2013, the state said. Most of the increase came in leisure and hospitality and professional and business services. Government lost 1,200 jobs.
In other news
Ikea is wading into the contentious minimum wage debate by raising pay in its U.S. stores. Ikea US will boost the average minimum hourly wage across its 38 retail locations to $10.76 beginning Jan. 1. That’s a 17 percent bump from its current $9.17-an-hour starting wage, and $3.51 above the federal minimum. About half of Ikea’s 11,000 hourly store workers will get a raise. How much will vary based on the cost of living in each store location.