Area jobless rate highest in 15 years - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Area jobless rate highest in 15 years

Wilena Clark lost her job in May when her company was bought out Wilena Clark lost her job in May when her company was bought out

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

September 25, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -  South Georgia's unemployment rate is at its highest level in 15 years at 6.8 percent. Albany's rate is just behind that at 6.7 percent.

As the number of people looking for work increases, the number of jobs is going down.  Georgia lost 37,700 payroll jobs over the last year.  Career centers in Albany had full waiting rooms Thursday. 

State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond said finding a new job in this economic environment is going to be difficult, but career counselors say it can be done.

Wilena Clark lost her job in May when her company was bought out by another and her position as an account executive was eliminated.

"At first you feel defeated, that there's already not a chance because of the way the situation is with jobs and the availability," Clark says.

Career Centers at Goodwill and the Department of Labor are seeing new faces like Clark's everyday.  At Goodwill Wednesday they had 26 new job seekers and 54 repeat customers.

"There are jobs, it depends on what you're looking for, and sometimes you have to start somewhere to build upon where you really want to be and think outside the box," says Goodwill Career Center Manager Drenda Davis Jackson.

They say it's important to sit down and think of all of your skills and apply for jobs you think your skills may be a close enough match for.  Sometimes a career change is in order.  It's also important to ask for help.

"We have resume writing workshops, we have interviewing workshops and applications.  We will assist you with looking for jobs on the Internet and applying for those jobs," says Sheilah Holland, Department of Labor Assistant Manager.

Careers centers say it's a difficult market right now, but not impossible.  In Wilena's case she's changed careers and used her skills to put herself to work selling insurance.

"Building up momentum so yes, just being able to work for myself and having that ability to have security, providing security for myself," she said.

According to the Department of Labor, Albany has lost over 800 jobs in the last year.

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