Mike Klein Online

Long-Term Unemployed Are Now Majority of Jobless Georgians

Mike Klein

Georgia’s new unemployment data proves the state’s weak economic recovery has missed nearly half a million people who worked and claim they want to work again.  The Atlanta metro area’s 10.2% jobless rate announced Wednesday is identical to the state percentage, and both are nearly one full percentage point higher than the 9.4% national percentage.

The most significant trend in Georgia Department of Labor data is continuous growth in the percentage of long-term unemployed, defined as persons without work more than 26 weeks.  They now represent 54% of the state’s jobless population, up from less than 35% one year ago.

Georgia reported 76,635 initial claims for unemployment insurance in December and 478,833 total unemployed.  The number of long-term unemployed rose dramatically from 168,200 in December 2009 to more than 259,000 twelve months later.

The national recession that began about three years ago also caused Georgia to burn through its entire $1.2 billion unemployment insurance trust fund.  Thirty one states including Georgia now borrow federal dollars to write their weekly unemployment checks.

A report posted online this week by the National Conference of State Legislatures said 31 states have borrowed $42.2 billion since September 2006.   NCSL said Georgia has borrowed $588.5 million since December 2009.  Principal and interest will be owed back to Washington.

Mike Klein is Editor at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation.

January 27, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , ,

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