Georgia unemployment rate at 10.2 percent in October

A year ago, that number was 6.9 percent, the state's labor department said.

October marks the first time in two years that Georgia's unemployment rate has matched that of the national one. Otherwise, the number of people out of work in Georgia has been higher, the DOL said.

"The recession will not end for the thousands of jobless Georgians until more employers start hiring again," State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond said.

The number of payroll jobs in Georgia dropped by 227,700 or 5.6 percent last month, DOL figures show. Atlanta lost the second largest number of jobs -- 138,300 -- a 5.7 percent drop. The city was behind Dalton, which lost 5,900 jobs -- an 8.1 percent loss for the much-smaller Georgia town.

The number of people who have left Georgia's labor force also dropped by 2.9 percent to 4.72 million, the DOL said. But the number of jobless workers receiving state unemployment benefits went up by nearly one-third to 130,812 in October, from 98,530 in October 2008, the labor department said.

Thurmond said he is pushing for city and business officials to come up with a way to pull the state out of an economic slump. He urged a bi-partisan plan that focuysed on three things: protecting vulnerable people, preserving health, safety and educational institutions and encouraging job creation.

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