Augusta Economy

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Local jobs increase, but at 'painfully slow' rate

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Jobs in the Augusta metro area ticked slightly upward in October, according to data released Thursday by the Georgia Department of Labor.

Total jobs in the area increased 0.1 percent, or 100 jobs, from September. The picture was rosier from a year earlier, with a 0.6 percent rise, or 1,300 jobs.

"It really is almost painfully slow (growth)," said Simon Medcalfe, a finance professor at Augusta State University. "One hundred jobs is almost just a rounding error."

Sectors that increased employment for the month were service-providing, financial activities, educational and health services and state and local government.

Overall, the private sector lost 300 jobs between September and October, though it gained 2,100 jobs from a year earlier.

Initial unemployment claims in the Augusta metro dropped nearly 22 percent to nearly 2,000 initial claims.

Other metro areas that added jobs in the past year were Albany, Atlanta, Hinesville, Savannah and Columbus.

The Georgia Department of Labor also reported that the state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged at 9.9 percent from September to October.

The preliminary September rate of 10 percent reported in October was revised downward. The rate is an improvement from 10.2 percent unemployment last October.

This is the 37th consecutive month Georgia has surpassed the national unemployment rate, which is now at 9.6 percent, a department news release stated.

The number of long-term unemployed -- people without work for at least 27 weeks -- continued to climb, landing at 240,600, or about 52 percent of all unemployed.

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