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Albany unemployment rate up

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October 31, 2005

Albany--More Georgians are out of work. The latest numbers from the labor department show unemployment up statewide and here in Albany. With the holidays just around the corner, the news comes at an especially bad time. 

It's only Halloween, but south Georgia retailers are already getting ready for Christmas.

"I've got a stack of applications this thick!" says Kirkland's store manager, Dawn Swanson.

Part of that preparation is hiring holiday workers. Swanson has seen a lot of people looking for work lately.

"Everybody needs that oh, so important dollar at Christmas time, everybody wants to be able to put that Christmas gift under the tree," says Swanson.

But some people in Albany may have a harder time placing that gift under the tree this year.

That's because the unemployment rate for the Albany area rose to 5.8% in September, up from 5.6% in August.

"It's fairly high," says Norman Race, with Georgia's Department of Labor.  Race says the slowdown in the ecomony has hurt a lot of area jobs.

"In the service industry, primarily, leisure and hospitality have lost a few jobs, manufacturing was down slightly as was retail trade," says Race.

Last month, Georgia lost 5,800 jobs.  During the same period last year, Georgia lost about 19,000 jobs. But the state unemployment rate went from 4.6% to 5.4% in the last year.

"I just don't think there's enough jobs in Albany," say job hunter Branson King.

King visits an Albany career center often and knows just how hard finding a job can be.

"It's hard to find a job down in Albany, especially a good job, everything's closing down, people getting laid off all the time," says King.

And with the holidays on the way, the pressure to find a job adds to Kings' stress.

"It's awful, I've got bills, then Christmas, it's just hard," he says.

As King struggles to look for work this season, he hopes for the best and prays a change in the economy comes soon. 

The national unemployment rate is 4.8%,  lower than the rate in Albany and Georgia as a whole.

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