May brings more jobs to Augusta

The U.S. Census boosted Augusta's job numbers for May.

Bolstered by federal government employment, the Augusta metro area gained 2,100 jobs from April to May, according to Thursday's jobs report from the Georgia Department of Labor.

The metro area's employment was 212,700 in May, up from 210,600 in April.

According to a spokesman for the Census Bureau, the agency filled roughly the equivalent of 850 full-time positions last month. The state labor department data estimated 1,100 more federal jobs were added to the Augusta area.

The area gained jobs in small increments in education, business services, manufacturing, information, retail trade and construction. There were declines in the number of people working in state government and hospitality.

The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined to 10.2 percent in May, down one-tenth of a percentage point from a revised 10.3 percent in April.

This is the 32nd consecutive month Georgia has exceeded the national unemployment rate, which is now 9.7 percent. 

The county-by-county breakdown of unemployment is due out next week. South Carolina will release its numbers today.

The Augusta metro area employment was 2,300 jobs higher than in May 2009, the best of any metro area in Georgia.

Georgia's job market showed improvement for the fourth consecutive month. The number of payroll jobs in May increased 24,700 from April to 3.84 million.

There were 2,341 initial claims for jobless benefits in Augusta in May, 25 percent lower than a year ago. Statewide, 57,919 laid-off workers filed initial claims for benefits, a decline of 2,742, or 4.5 percent, from 60,661 in April. 

In May, there were 225,700 long-term unemployed Georgians -- those who have been out of work for 27 weeks or longer. It represents an increase of 10,600, or 4.9 percent, from 215,100 in April.

Long-term unemployed account for 47 percent of the 479,877 jobless workers in Georgia.

"It's disturbing that the number of long-term unemployed Georgia workers is growing by the thousands," said State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond. "There are some signs of improvement in the job market, but we must have robust private sector job creation before our economy will fully recover."

Augusta Metro Area Employment

THE GAINS

- Federal government: 1,100

- Professional and business services: 600

- Manufacturing: 100

- Mining/construction: 100

- Trade/transportation: 100

- Retail trade: 100

- Information: 100

- Education/health services: 100

THE LOSSES

- Leisure/hospitality: 100

- State government: 100

Source: Georgia Department of Labor

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