Surge in searchers raises unemployment rate

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The Augusta metro area's unemployment rose slightly in July as more people re-entered the labor force and searched for jobs, according to numbers released Thursday by the Georgia Department of Labor.

The area's jobless rate increased to 9.3 percent in July from 9.2 percent in June. The labor force rose as more people found and searched for employment.

Statewide, the jobless rate improved slightly to 9.9 percent in July from 10 percent in June. Georgia's unemployment rate remained above the national average of 9.5 percent.

Georgia's overall unemployment rate declined as the civilian labor force shrunk with fewer people in the labor market.

"Some of the rates came down because people have stopped looking as opposed to finding a job," said Simon Medcalfe, a professor of finance at Augusta State University.

Sectors that saw more jobs in July included professional and business services, educational and health services and mining, logging and construction.

About 950 more people in the Augusta metro area found work in July, and 257 more people were unemployed and searching for jobs than in June.

Locally, the unemployment rate in the six-county metro area ranged from 7.2 percent to 11.6 percent.

- Richmond County's rate improved slightly to 10.9 percent in July from 11 percent in June.

- Columbia County's jobless rate remained unchanged for July at 7.2 percent.

- Burke County's rate rose to 11.6 percent in July from 11.3 percent the previous month.

- McDuffie County's rate increased to 10.6 percent from 10.2 percent.

- Aiken County's unemployment rate rose to 8.3 percent from 8.2 percent.

- Edgefield County's unemployment increased to 9.6 percent from 9.3 percent.


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