Some public school workers employed by private companies say, they got a nasty surprise a few weeks ago. State labor officials last year proposed eliminating a policy that allowed such workers to collect jobless benefits over the summer. The workers say, they didn't find out about the change until recently. Union officials say, the workers now face months without income.
Georgia labor officials say unemployment rates in the state's metro areas ranged from 12.1 percent in Dalton to 7.8 in Athens and Warner Robins. The jobless rate in a half-dozen metro areas — Albany, Atlanta, Brunswick, Dalton, Macon and Rome — were above 10 percent.
State officials say Georgia's jobless rate rose to 10.2 percent in August, the highest level in the past six months. Georgia's top labor official says depsite that news, there were job gains in some sectors. That included in public school system seasonal employment, professional and business services, health care, and construction.
The latest numbers from the state’s labor department reflect a still sputtering economy in Georgia. The jobless rate rose into double-digits in July. It was up two-tenths of a point to 10.1 percent. Georgia lost more than 30,000 jobs last month, with the bulk of those seasonal layoffs in state and local education.
Georgia is cracking down on unemployment fraud. Nationwide, it's a problem that tallies up a bill worth $17 billion annually. Federal labor officials say a big chunk of that fraud comes from people who drew benefits checks even after finding a new job. And some other workers never eligible to get checks - got payments.
State officials are trying to figure out how to meet Georgia's unemployment insurance obligations. Officials say the fund is running out of money, and more than 191,000 Georgians received unemployment insurance payments last week. The state owes the federal government more than $600 million dollars.