The Associated Press
ATLANTA — Georgia's jobless rate has risen to 8.8 percent, state labor officials said.
The Georgia Department of Labor released July's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate early Thursday. It is up from last month's 8.5 percent rate, but still lower than the 9.1 percent from July a year ago.
State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the rate increased due to a significant number of new layoffs, and non-contract school employees remaining unemployed because of the summer break.
However, Butler said there are signs that the situation is improving. He said the vast majority of the layoffs were temporary, and the school employees are beginning to return to work.
There were 4.04 million jobs in July, down 1,500 from June. Government shed 17,300 jobs, but officials said that loss was tempered by a gain of 15,800 jobs in the private sector.
"Georgia's private sector employers have added jobs for six consecutive months," Butler said in a statement. "And inside that private sector number, there's more encouraging news. Construction grew more than 4,000 jobs, which is one of the largest over-the-month gains in construction we've seen in a very long time. Most of the construction growth is in the specialty trades, such as electricians and carpenters, which are in-demand occupations."