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Wednesday, May 26, 2010 - 10:34am

Ga. Jobless Rate Shows Slight Drop

There is a slight drop in Georgia’s unemployment rate.  State labor officials report a 10.4 percent jobless mark for April, down a tenth of a point from March. 

Still, it’s a run of 31-straight months for Georgia’s jobless rate to exceed the national—which is currently 9.9 percent.

“Although our job market is slowly improving, the continuing increase in the number of long-term unemployed Georgians is troubling,” said State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond. “The specter of structural unemployment is beginning to cast a long shadow across the American workplace.”

In April, there were 215,100 long-term unemployed Georgians (those out of work at least 27 weeks).  This represents an increase of 10,400, or 5.1 percent from 204,700 long-term unemployed in March, and 129,600, or 151.6 percent from 85,500 in April 2009.

At a small business networking event hosted by the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce in Atlanta Thursday, 'cautious optimism’ was the prevailing mood of participants. 

Small businesses are often seen as a bellwether for the economy, as they can be more flexible to adapt to changing conditions. 

Mary Moore has had to do that with her culinary products and cooking school business.  The founder/CEO of The Cooks Warehouse says her bow to the recession involved streamlining expenses, but no layoffs.

"It’s been tight.  Certainly we had to tighten our bootstraps and fine-tune what we’re doing and it’s been a good opportunity to streamline the business and then be in a better position as the economy tends to let loose a little more.” 

Moore says networking with other small business entrepreneurs has been a key in staying afloat in the economy.