Joblessness has jumped while the work force shrinks, feds say

The number of jobless workers in metro Atlanta climbed in September to 277,800 – up 51 percent from a year earlier, according to a report released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Roughly 2,400 more people joined the pool of unemployed since August, the BLS said.

While there is hiring, the pace is slower than the flow of layoffs.

A year ago, before the impact of the financial crisis rattled through the economy, the rate was 6.7 percent. The area’s unemployment rate this September was 10.5 percent, edging up from 10.3 percent in August.

The jobless rate would be even higher if the official count of the labor force had not fallen: The region’s workforce has shrunk by 82,600 – with nearly 10,000 of the decline in the past month.

No one has a crisp and definitive explanation for the drop, but most experts say there are probably several factors in combination. Among them: Some people have become discouraged at job prospects in Georgia and left the state. Others have stopped looking for work – which means they are no longer part of the jobless rate’s calculation.

Metro Atlanta is the state’s biggest economic force by far and also the largest pool of unemployed. The area represents 57.6 percent of the state’s jobless and, with 2.65 million workers, 56 percent of Georgia’s labor force.

The second-largest labor market is metro Augusta with 255,400 workers. Savannah is third with about 175,700 in the labor force.

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The number of jobless workers in metro Atlanta climbed in September to 277,800 – up 51 percent from a year earlier, according to a report released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Roughly 2,400 more people joined the pool of unemployed since August, the BLS said.

While there is hiring, the pace is slower than the flow of layoffs.

A year ago, before the impact of the financial crisis rattled through the economy, the rate was 6.7 percent. The area's unemployment rate this September was 10.5 percent, edging up from 10.3 percent in August.

The jobless rate would be even higher if the official count of the labor force had not fallen: The region’s workforce has shrunk by 82,600 – with nearly 10,000 of the decline in the past month.

No one has a crisp and definitive explanation for the drop, but most experts say there are probably several factors in combination. Among them: Some people have become discouraged at job prospects in Georgia and left the state. Others have stopped looking for work – which means they are no longer part of the rate’s calculation.

Metro Atlanta is the state’s biggest economic force by far and also the largest pool of unemployed. The area represents 57.6 percent of the state’s jobless and, with 2.65 million workers, 56 percent of Georgia’s labor force.

The second largest labor market is metro Augusta with 255,400 workers. Savannah is third with about 175,700 in the labor force.

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