State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said today that the preliminary unadjusted unemployment rate in the Northwest Georgia area was unchanged at 10.9 percent from November to December. Meanwhile, the number of unemployed workers in the area increased to 44,075, up 219 from 43,856. The jobless rate in the Northwest Georgia area in December 2009 was also 10.9 percent.

Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 10.2 percent in December, up two-tenths of a percentage point from a revised 10 percent in November. The rate was 10.3 percent in December 2009.

Statewide, the number of payroll jobs decreased 21,800, or six-tenths of a percentage point, to 3,827,200 from 3,849,000 in November. Most of the decreases came in construction, leisure and hospitality, the public schools, professional and business services, and wholesale trade. And, the number of jobs remains 7,800, or two-tenths of a percentage point, fewer than in December 2009, when there were 3,835,000 payroll jobs.

Statewide, 75,635 laid-off workers filed initial claims for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits in December, an increase of 7,921, or 11.7 percent, from 67,714 in November. However, there was an over-the-year decrease of 25,261 initial claims, or 25 percent, from 100,896 filed in December 2009. Most of the first-time claims were filed in manufacturing, trade, construction, and administrative and support services.

Local area unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted. Georgia labor market data are available at www.dol.state.ga.us