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Unemployment up slightly in July
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Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 8.8 percent in July, according to the state Department of Labor. That is three-tenths of a percentage point higher than the revised 8.5 percent rate in June, but three-tenths of a percentage point lower than the 9.1 percent rate in July a year ago.

State Labor Commission Mark Butler attributed the increase to a "significant number" of new layoffs, and the fact that non-contract school employees remained unemployed because of the summer break. Butler added, however, that "the vast majority of the layoffs were temporary, and the school employees are beginning to return to work."

New claims for unemployment insurance benefits rose by 14,329 to 54,106, from 39,777 in June.

For the past five years, the number of initial claims in July has risen by approximately 7,000. Approximately 11,000 of the new claims represented temporary layoffs, primarily in manufacturing and administrative and support services, while others were in trade and construction.

However, the number of initial claims was down by 2,434 from 56,540 in July 2012.

"Georgia’s private sector employers have added jobs for six consecutive months," Butler said. "And, inside that private sector number, there’s more encouraging news. Construction grew more than 4,000 jobs, which is one of the largest over-the-month gains in construction we’ve seen in a very long time. Most of the construction growth is in the specialty trades, such as electricians and carpenters, which are in-demand occupations."

In addition to an increase of 4,100 jobs in construction, additional gains were in trade and transportation, 5,000; manufacturing, 2,400; leisure and hospitality, 1,800; education and health services, 1,500; professional and business services, 900; and information services, 600.

The number of long-term unemployed workers declined to 179,900, down 1,300 from 181,200 in June.