According to the latest data from the Georgia Department of Labor, Chattooga County’s unemployment rate is at 12.6%.  That is down four-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month, and down 3.5% from this time last year.

Other counties in Northwest Georgia have also seen their unemployment rates go down since last year and over-all state – wide Georgia’s unemployment picture is better than it was this time last year.

However, there are still many Georgians out of work and many have all but given up on job-hunting. 

The Georgia Department of Labor will host a bi-partisan jobs summit Jan. 18 at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Convention Center in Atlanta. Commissioner Thurmond says the summit will bring together some of the best minds from all over Georgia to develop a comprehensive statewide strategy to spur the creation of jobs.

Further complicating the situation in Georgia, the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund has shrunk by more than $880 million during the past 12 months. That has prompted Thurmond to seek $70 million in federal stimulus funds for the remainder of 2009.

Thus far this year, the state has paid out more than $1.6 billion in unemployment benefits. That’s an increase of more than $600 million over the previous year.

The state will also implement a small increase in unemployment insurance premium paid by the approximately 15 percent of the state’s employers in 2010.