Unemployment rate declines in Clayton, Henry

From Staff Reports

The Georgia Department of Labor said the unemployment rate in the metro Atlanta area for October was 4.3 percent, a decrease of one-tenth percent from a revised 4.4 percent in September. The area's jobless rate in October of 2003 was 4.6 percent.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate in Georgia for October was 4.2 percent, a decrease of one-tenth percent from a revised 4.3 percent in September. The state's jobless rate in October of 2003 was 4.5 percent.

In both Clayton and Henry counties, the unemployment claims for October dropped and showed a significant improvement from the same period a year ago. In Clayton County, the number of unemployment claims for October was 930, down from 1,064 in September. It also was down 13 percent from a year ago.

In Henry County, the number of October claims was 331, down from 380 in September. Compared to a year ago, it was down a whopping 22.7 percent.

The National figures show an unemployment rate of 5.4 percent

"While the unemployment rate declined slightly in October, the number of employed workers has remained virtually unchanged for the past 12 months," said State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond. "In the past year, the unemployment rate has declined, not because more people are working, but because about 10,000 unemployed workers have left Georgia's job market. They may have moved to other states to seek employment or become discouraged and simply quit looking for a job."

Georgia added 12,300 payroll jobs in October, mostly seasonal work in the service industries such as retail trade, local education, and temporary employment agencies.

The stores in the Southlake Mall hired an average of four seasonal employees, said Dionne Key, a marketing assistant for the mall.

One of the temporary employees hired for the holiday season was Talisha Johnson, who wraps gifts at the mall.

"I wasn't good at when I first started," she said. "I am now."

Dennis Abercrombie, the assistant general manager of Books-A-Million in McDonough, said he had no problem finding the seasonal help he needed to get the store through the holidays.

"We hired four people for seasonal help," he said.

But when the holidays are over, he said, those workers will no longer be needed.

While the overall number of jobs grew, the state experienced job losses in manufacturing and leisure and hospitality. Over the past 12 months, the state has a net gain of only 32,400 jobs, a job growth rate of eight-tenths of one percent.

"We must create jobs at a faster pace," said Thurmond. "The Georgia Department of Labor's initiative called Georgia Works is successful in helping laid-off workers find new jobs and change careers, and I encourage unemployed workers to use Georgia Works in their quest for a brighter future."

Georgia Works allows job seekers to get on-site workplace training while continuing to receive unemployment benefits. It's working extremely well for both job seekers and employers in that nearly 60 percent of those who complete Georgia Works training are hired. Information about Georgia Works is available through any of the labor department's 53 career centers.

Georgia labor market data are not seasonally adjusted and are available at www.dol.state.ga.us.

Unemployment Insurance benefits are temporary income for workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own and who are either looking for another job, have definite recall to their jobs within 6 weeks of the last day worked, or are in approved training. The funding for unemployment insurance benefits comes from taxes paid by employers. Workers do not pay any costs. Eligibility for benefits is determined based on past wages, reason for job separation, and availability and job search requirements. Claims for unemployment insurance may be filed at any Georgia Department of Labor Career Center. When filing a claim, you should bring:

? Your social security number. A claim cannot be filed without a social security number.

? Employer-issued separation letter or notice, if one was provided.

? Names and addresses of all employers for the last 18 months and the dates worked for each.

? Proof of immigration status if not a U.S. citizen.

? Personal check with account number and bank routing number if you want benefits deposited directly into to a checking or savings account.

? Claims are effective on the date they are filed and are not retroactive to the last day worked.