The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) reported today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 6.5 percent in September, the highest rate in 16 years. The jobless rate was up two percentage points from 4.5 percent at this same time last year. The September unemployment rate was up two-tenths of one percentage point from 6.3 percent in August.

“Despite the troubling unemployment statistics, I want to reassure jobless Georgians that the department of labor is committed to helping them get back to work,” said State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond. “It is critical that job seekers continue to look for work and take full advantage of our employment services. These services include job referrals, job search workshops, resume writing assistance, computer access, and referrals to education and training opportunities.”

The last time Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate reached this level was in November of 1992 when it was 6.6 percent. The state rate remained above the national rate of 6.1 percent for the eighth straight month. The number of jobs decreased 24,800 from August to September, down in most major industries. At present, 317,490 unemployed Georgians are looking for work.

Over the last year, the number of payroll jobs decreased 53,200 or 1.3 percent. This is the largest September-to-September decline in jobs since 64,500 were lost from September of 2001 to September of 2002, the period following the 911 terrorist attacks. The over-the-year job losses came across-the-board in manufacturing, construction, trade, and services.