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Thursday, June 17, 2010 - 4:20am

Record "Long Term" Unemployment

Georgia’s unemployment rate fell slightly from April to May--by a tenth of a point to 10.2 percent. But more Georgians than ever are now considered “long term” unemployed.

225,700 people have been out-of-work for 27 weeks or longer, defined as “long term”.

Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond says that group now represents nearly half of Georgia’s jobless:

“This is the largest percentage of 'long-term' unemployed Georgians on record. Before the recession began, roughly 18-percent of Georgians unemployed were considered long term. So the number’s grown significantly from that time.”

Thurmond says while some economists claim a recovery is starting to take hold, he’ll only believe that when there’s robust growth in small and medium-sized businesses.

Georgia’s unemployment rate for 32-straight months has topped the national mark--currently 9.7 percent.

Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond says some of the good jobs-wise is what’s happening in west Georgia with the Kia plant. There’s also the promise of future local jobs to be created once a new inland port’ in south Georgia’s Cordele is operational:

“Local economic development opportunities such as the one being created there...these are examples of what we can do when we work together at the state, local and federal level.”