ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) reported today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged at 10.1 percent from August to September. Previously, the August rate had been reported at 10.2 percent, but was revised downward slightly.

The September jobless rate was up 3.5 percentage points from 6.6 percent at this same time last year. Georgia’s unemployment rate remained above the national rate of 9.8 percent for the 23nd consecutive month.

“Georgia’s September unemployment rate is unchanged from the previous month, however underlying trends confirm continuing job market deterioration,” said State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond.

The number of payroll jobs in September decreased 237,100, or 5.8 percent, from September of 2008.

The metropolitan areas with the highest percentage of job losses during the same period are Dalton, down 8.4 percent; Rome, down 6.2 percent; and Atlanta, down 5.9 percent. The metropolitan areas with the smallest percentage of job losses are Athens, down 1.8 percent; Brunswick, down 2.0 percent; and Columbus, down 2.3 percent. The over-the-year losses came in manufacturing, trade, construction, and administrative support services, including temporary employment services. On a positive note, educational and health services added 13,700 jobs over the year.

The state’s labor force decreased 117,230, or 2.4 percent, from 4,852,086 in September 2008 to 4,734,856 in September 2009. The number of jobless workers receiving regular state unemployment benefits increased 51,779 or 58.8 percent, from 88,121 in September 2008 to 139,900 in September 2009. Another 150,000 received federal Extended Unemployment Compensation.

Commissioner Thurmond stressed that job creation is critical for economic recovery, with the focus being on stimulating private sector job growth, particularly through Georgia’s small and medium-sized businesses. He encouraged employers and job seekers to take advantage of the opportunities available through expanded use of the Georgia Work$ (GW$) initiative. For more information about the GW$ hiring strategy, visit www.dol.state.ga.us or email inquiries to gawork$@dol.state.ga.us. GW$ telephone operators are available at 1-877-WORKS09 (1-877-967-5709).