Commissioner Thurmond: Keep the faith, economy will turn around -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Commissioner Thurmond: Keep the faith, economy will turn around

By Christian Jennings - bio | email

BAINBRIDGE,  GA (WALB) - It could be tie first sign of an economic turn-around. South Georgia's unemployment rate dropped ever so slightly last month.

While we're a long way from a full recovery, it's a step in the right direction.

In a visit to South Georgia Thursday, the state labor commissioner said Georgians should stay positive and keep the faith that the economy will soon turn around.

But patience is hard when you've lost your job and even your home. For plenty of South Georgians, staying hopeful is just as hard as paying the bills.

State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond spoke with seniors at Bainbridge High School and Cairo High School on Thursday. He encouraged them to stay in school, graduate, and have faith in the future job market.

But for Becky Byrd, staying faithful is a difficult task.

"It's hard, I've got three kids and I'm unemployed," she said.

Amanda Scott is looking for work too. "I just recently moved to Bainbridge, I've been unemployed for six months."

Kathy Morley has a job but it's quickly dwindling. "I do housekeeping, I had 7 houses, now I'm down to 4 they can't afford to keep me."

But have we seen the worst? Unemployment in Southwest Georgia dropped by a half a percentage in August. From 10.5 to 10 percent. The jobless rate in Decatur County, one of the highest in the region, dropped from 13 to 12.4 percent.

A small decline, but at least it's in the right direction.

"I think we have a ways to go until we can really say we are out of the recession. Fewer people are being laid off but if you don't have a job its still tough finding employment," said the Commissioner.

"It's effected me really bad on my income, I even lost my house," said Morley.

"I don't think they'll be a pick up anytime soon," said Scott.

Commissioner Thurmond predicts by the middle of 2010 we'll see positive job growth.

"Number one keep the faith, then take advantage of our services, and be flexible, look at other career opportunities, go back to school," suggested Commissioner Thurmond.

Amanda Scott says staying positive is her only option.

"Just hoping the next day will be better than the day before, and maybe someone will say OK I've got a job for you," she said.

If the trend continues, her day may come sooner than she thinks.

Commissioner Thurmond stressed there are some jobs out there right now especially in healthcare and educational fields which have shown an increase over the past year.

The state's unemployment rate declined too but only slightly from 10.3 to 10.2. It's still above the national rate of 9.7 percent.

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