The Georgia Department of Labor announced last week that the preliminary unemployment rate in metro Savannah rose to 8.2 percent in December, up 0.5 percent from 7.7 percent in November.
The rate was 8.7 percent in December 2011.
In the Coastal Georgia region, the unemployment rate rose to 8.7 percent in December, up 0.5 percent from 8.2 percent in November, but down 0.5 percent from December 2011.
The rates rose because of a slight increase in initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits and an increase in the labor force, as more people began searching for work.
Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 8.6 percent in December, up 0.1 percent from 8.5 percent in November. The rate was 9.4 percent in December a year ago.
Metro Athens had the state’s lowest area jobless rate at 6.6 percent, while the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest at 11.4 percent.
In metro Savannah, there were 39 more new claims for unemployment benefits in construction, manufacturing, trade, transportation and warehousing, and accommodations and food services. While the initial claims were up from November to December, they were down by 1,024, or 41.6 percent, from 2,460 in December 2011. The decline in claims led to an over-the-year drop in the area’s jobless rate.
The labor force, those employed or actively searching for a job, increased by 1,411, rising to 180,948 in December. The new jobseekers are counted as unemployed until they get work.
Meanwhile in Coastal Georgia, there were 228 more new claims for unemployment benefits in construction, manufacturing, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, and accommodations and food services. Like metro Savannah, initial claims were up from November to December, but were down by 1,043, or 26.4 percent, from 3,946 in December 2011. The labor force increased by 1,097, rising from 316,391 to 317,488 in December.