Georgia’s unemployment rate held steady last month at 9.2 percent, the same as July’s seasonally adjusted rate. Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the state’s labor force is growing as more people resume their job search and the number of jobs is increasing.
Georgia’s labor commissioner is refusing to restart jobless benefits to seasonally unemployed teachers and bus drivers, setting up a showdown between state and federal officials. The U.S. Labor Department said last month that Georgia was violating employment law by denying the benefits.
Georgia's jobless rate rose to 9.3 percent in July, which is up from 9 percent in June. Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said a main reason for the increase is a large number of temporary layoffs in manufacturing.
A federal agency's decision might lead to thousands of Georgia bus drivers, cafeteria workers and private school teachers getting summer unemployment benefits after the state denied them the money. State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler had instituted a benefits change earlier this year, saying it was unfair to pay the seasonal benefits when public school system employees don't get them.
Any Georgian who’s laid off from work after July 1 will receive fewer weeks of unemployment benefits. The change is part of a new law passed this year by state lawmakers. Labor department officials say it will help the state repay a $700 million federal loan in two years, rather than six.