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Tuesday, September 6, 2011 - 9:56am

Manufacturing Up, But Many Still Jobless

Georgia manufacturers are producing jobs, but many Georgia job-seekers aren't reaping the benefits.

One problem is a mismatch of jobs and skills.

Georgia manufacturers added 5,000 jobs, or 1.5%, for the year ending in July.

All but 700 of the jobs added were in Metro Atlanta.

In the Savannah-area, manufacturing jobs grew an anemic .7%, or about 100 jobs, despite a half-dozen large manufacturers with ramped up hiring.

Karen Guinn of heavy equipment maker JCB says, her company is hiring about 200 people but has had to look for workers outside the state.

"We found it to be much more difficult than we originally anticipated," Guinn says. "There's a pretty limited talent pool for that type of labor in this market."

Guinn says, they're recruiting as far away as Michigan for workers with technical skills like welding.

Economist Don Sabbarese of Kennesaw State University says, the situation points to an underlying, or "structural," problem for the economy.

"I think this brings out a policy issue," Sabbarese says. "I think we need to look at our capabilities to educate people to stay abreast of the needs of the private sector."

The state's overall job numbers dropped 3,000, or .7 percent, for the year ending in July.