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Job hunting doesn't stop for Labor Day

By Trina Trice

Craig and Tracy Douglas will spend Labor Day looking for a job.

Both are jobless and have been making regular trips to the Georgia Department of Labor office looking for a job.

"I used to be a realtor, but then the market slowed down," Craig Douglas said.

His wife was a hairstylist until she "had an issue with child care," primarily because it wasn't available.

Tracy has been looking for a job for three months, and she, like Craig, is open to taking up a new profession.

"I need something that will make me available to my children. My background is primarily doing hair and customer service. But whatever I get, the hours would have to stem around my children," she said. They have three.

Despite 9,230 people out of work, Georgia led the nation in job creation last month, with employment increasing by 18,700 jobs.

Over the past 12 months, Georgia placed second only to Florida in job creation. Florida's over-the-year figure was 85,400 and Georgia's was 38,700.

The increase could be misleading, though.

Georgia's unemployment rate climbed to 6.4 percent in July.

The state lost 16,600 jobs in July, before a seasonal adjustment was calculated.

Craig Douglas isn't fazed by the report of more jobs in Georgia, even though that would suggest a positive future for job-seekers.

"It's never been this hard for me," he said. "I used to be able to find a job in a week or two. It's frustrating ?cause you don't have all of the qualifications they're looking for. You meet some of them, but not all of them."

That's why the jobless are encouraged to take advantage of the DOL office, said Janice Moore, manager of the Clayton County center.

"We offer a variety of services and assistance," she said. "It's not just a place for unemployment insurance. We have career guidance, job search workshops, interview and resume preparation?We have a triage approach. There is help for clients that just need access to computers and the Internet, others who need access and some guidance, and some who need (job counseling)."

A quiz program helps individuals catch up or improve computer and typing skills.

"It's a great thing to have a place to go and have (the services be) free," Moore said.

Tracy Douglas hopes they don't have to use the center for too much longer, though.

When asked if she thinks the couple will seek public assistance soon, she said, "We're trying to avoid that as much as possible. We are working people. We aren't disabled?that's for people who really need to be taken cared of. We're just prayerful that we'll find something."

The Associated Press contributed to this article.