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State jobless rate falls to 10.2 percent
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ATLANTA — Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined slightly last month, the state Department of Labor said.
State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said Thursday that the rate fell to 10.2 percent in February, down one-tenth of a percentage point from a revised 10.3 percent in January. Georgia’s jobless rate was also 10.3 percent in February 2010.
The January rate was reported as 10.4 percent before it was revised.
Butler said there were 3,795,400 payroll jobs in Georgia in February, an increase of seven-tenths of a percent.
“Job creation is the most important aspect of an economic recovery, and the slight increase in jobs in February gives me reason for cautious optimism,” Butler said in a statement. He said a decrease in the number of new layoffs also was encouraging.
Most of the increases came in construction and service-related industries, including professional and business services, education, health care, and leisure and hospitality.
The 55,576 laid-off workers who filed initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits in February represented a decrease of 38 percent from January and 15.9 percent from a year ago.
Butler said the growing number of long term unemployed is troubling. The long-term unemployed, those who have been out of work for 27 weeks or more, now represent 55 percent of the unemployed in Georgia.
Most of the first-time claims were filed in manufacturing, construction, administrative and support services and trade.

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