Augusta metro's jobless rate jumps up in June

Metro Augusta's unemployment hits 9.9 percent
Sean Boler, an intern working in the Augusta Tax Assessor's Office, says he is confident he will find work after finishing his studies at Augusta Tech.

Sean Boler has two years before he starts looking for a job, but he already is doing what he can to make sure he doesn't become one of Augusta's unemployed.

Boler is an intern for the Augusta Tax Assessor's Office who will be studying computer engineering and technology at Augusta Technical College for the next two years.

School starts in two weeks, but it was the school year's ending that pushed up the unemployment rate for June, according to Georgia's labor commissioner.

The unemployment rate in metro Augusta increased to 9.9 percent in June, up from a revised 8.7 percent in May. The jobless rate in metro Augusta in June 2010 was 9.2 percent.

"The increase was caused primarily by two seasonal factors," said Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. "There were layoffs among noncontract public school employees, such as bus drivers and janitorial workers, and an increase in the labor force, as students began looking for permanent or part-time jobs."

There was a jump in the metro labor force of 2,737 people, coupled with a decline in employment of 582, according to state data released Thursday morning.

Augusta began the year with a 9 percent jobless rate. The last time it was as high as 9.9 percent was in June and July 2009, both 10.2 percent.

Boler says that even though the job climate might look tough, he doesn't let that get him down.

"I feel pretty confident," he said. "I believe that I can pull through, and I know it helps to have experience."

This is the second summer that Boler has interned at the Tax Assessor's Office, and his supervisor, Ross Alveno, said Boler's work ethic and attitude will help him go far.

"I think this experience he has will be tremendous for him," Alveno said. "It's going to help."

For June, Columbia County was fifth-lowest in the state, at 7.8 percent. That is higher than the 7.1 percent in May and in June 2010.

The rate increased in Richmond County from 9.8 percent in May to 11.3 percent in June. The jobless rate in June 2010 was 11 percent.

Burke and McDuffie counties also had increases to 12.9 and 11.1 percent, respectively. Metro areas in Warner Robins, Savannah, Valdosta, Athens and Gainesville all had lower rates.