Unemployment rate passes 9% - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Unemployment rate passes 9%

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - For the thousands searching for a job in southwest Georgia new unemployment numbers aren't encouraging.

Georgia's jobless rate set a new record high of 9.3%. That's the highest rate since the state started keeping track of those records.

It's also above the national jobless rate of 8.1%. The losses came in manufacturing, construction and professional and business services. But jobs were added with the federal government and local and state education along with health care.  

It's hard to be optimistic with the depressing job market, but you could look at it this way. Across the state, Albany actually lost the third fewest jobs in the last year when 2,100 employees got pink slips.

Valdosta lost fewer yet at 1,900 jobs lost. For those out there looking, it's little comfort.

Willie Jackson remembers the exact day he was laid off from his supervisors job at Bridgestone/Firestone after 32 years of employment, August 29th, 2008.  "I was in school part time at the time when I got laid off and I was thinking probably won't take long to get a job."

Seven months later he's realized how tough it is to get a job. "You go for an interview, you get turned down."

The Department of Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond says times are tough, but not hopeless. Because the unemployment numbers are so high job openings are more competitive than ever, that's why as a candidate you must stand out.

"Employers when they look at a resume within the first ten seconds that determines whether they will get called for an interview," said Career Center Unit Supervisor Catherine Hogg. 

Another tool many in Albany have used is the work ready assessment test.

"It says to an employer that we at least know this individual has the basic skills necessary to move into a job," said Albany Technical College V.P. of Economic Development Matt Trice. 

Because of the competition in distribution Willie Jackson is changing career fields to one he hopes will mean more opportunities.

"I do a lot of cooking so today I went and enrolled in culinary arts," said Jackson.

Because of the higher number of unemployed, the Department of Labor has extended the hours of their Career Centers. Here in Albany the center is open from 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM Monday through Friday.

Right now in Georgia 445,498 residents are looking for work. That's an increase of 69% over last year.

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