Georgia unemployment rises to record 9.7 percent

ATLANTA — The state says Georgia's unemployment rate for May has hit the highest level in history — 9.7 percent.

Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond said the rate released this morning is a "stark reminder" that the road to economic recovery will be long and difficult.

The unemployment rate compared with a revised 9.2 percent in April.

Last month, 463,883 unemployed Georgians were looking for work, an increase of 62 percent from May of 2008. Of that number, 157,544, or 34 percent, are receiving state unemployment insurance benefits, while approximately another 90,000 are receiving federal extended benefits.

The May jobless rate was up 3.8 percentage points from 5.9 percent at this time last year. Georgia’s unemployment rate is above the national rate of 9.4 percent for the 19th consecutive month.

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