Ga. Labor Dept. issues dire estimate of underemployed

ATLANTA -- Nearly 100,000 Georgians have jobs they are trying to leave and another 26,700 are so discouraged they have given up looking for work, according to figures released today by the Department of Labor.

Job-seeker advocates have often mentioned the large number of "under employed" workers, but this is the first time researchers have released a specific figure, according to Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond. Since they have part-time jobs, he said, they aren't counted among the unemployed and don't show up in other government statistics.

Georgia's formal count of unemployed totals 463,000. With the under employed and discouraged workers added in, nearly 600,000 seeking work.

Thurmond released the figures during a Jobs Summit his agency is hosting to discuss policy options.

A growing number of the unemployed and under employed are white-collar workers who have been laid off and continue to search for positions like the ones they lost. Often it takes them longer to find a job because they are reluctant to get new training until they acknowledge their old profession no longer exists, he said.

"I hope you can give us some ideas on how to reach these professionals because a lot of this is psychological," he said.

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