Unemployment up nationwide, down in Georgia - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Unemployment up nationwide, down in Georgia

May 4, 2007

Albany--Looking for a job? It's a good time for it in Georgia. Nationally, the unemployment rate is up. But it's down in Georgia as the state creates more jobs.

Nationwide employers added only 88,000 jobs in April--that's the smallest number in two years according to the US Labor Department.

Here in Georgia, it's a different story. Employers added more than 18,000 payroll jobs over the past few months, giving employees something to smile about.

Jerry Vanater has worked for Staples in Albany for only a short time. "I transferred here from Pennsylvania," he says.

Here, you'll find him making sure store shelves stay stocked and customers stay satisfied.  "I love the job here. Everybody's usually very friendly with me," he says.

But there could be a simple reason behind those friendly greetings---  some want jobs. "Lots of people asking for applications, yes. We have a table out front and they can be empty in a day," he says.

Fortunately for many of those job hunters, they're in luck. "We have gained jobs in February and March. So, so far Albany is looking okay," says economist Amit Singh.

Singh says certain industries in our area are seeing the biggest job growths. "Health, and food industry, and hospitality--that's been doing good," says Singh.

So why is finding a job in Georgia easier than it is the rest of the country lately? According to Singh:  "Georgia normally grows faster than the US economy," he says.

And for several reasons. "The structure of our economy, more populous in growth, more industry moving in, and lower cost of doing business," says Singh.

Just in Jerry's short time with Staples in Albany--  he's seen hire after hire. "Oh, I say about eight to ten employees," Vanater.

But just because you might have an easier time applying for a job in The Good Life City, like most places of employment, the selection process is often very picky. "We just don't hire anybody," says Vanater.

Now some more good news for Albany.  From February to March, the number of jobs was up by 200.  Nationwide, careers in banking, retail, manufacturing, and construction saw the slowest employment growth for the month of April.

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