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Georgia, local unemployment rate up
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ATLANTA — State labor officials say Georgia's unemployment rate has grown to 10.2 percent, and claims rose in Newton County by 13.2 percent.

Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said Thursday that the state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose by two-tenths of a percentage point from a revised 10 percent in November.

The rate was 10.3 percent in December 2009. It's the 39th consecutive month Georgia has exceeded the national unemployment rate, which is now 9.4 percent.

In Newton County, there were 840 initial claims for unemployment in December, compared with 742 in November. For the year, there was a 283 net fewer claims in Newton County, according to Department of Labor statistics.

The number of payroll jobs decreased last month by 21,800, with most of the decreases in construction, leisure and hospitality, public schools, professional and business services and wholesale trade.

There were 259,200 long-term unemployed Georgians in December, an increase of 7,000, or 2.8 percent, from 252,200 long-term unemployed in November.