ATLANTA – State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said today that Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 10.1 percent in July, up two-tenths of a percentage point from 9.9 percent in June. The state’s jobless rate was also 10.1 percent in July a year ago.
The July increase, as in June, was due primarily to the traditional seasonal layoffs, with about 80 percent of them in state and local education.
Georgia lost 30,200 jobs in July, as the total jobs number dropped eight-tenths of a percentage point to 3,789,600. In addition to 24,500 jobs lost in government and education, business services lost 2,200, while construction lost 1,800. Overall, there were 28,400, or seven-tenths of a percentage point, fewer jobs than in July of last year.
However, a gain of 1,400 manufacturing jobs helped offset overall losses. This was the first July in 18 years that Georgia had an increase in manufacturing jobs.
“Manufacturing has been a very weak sector, but we’re starting to see some increases in hiring,” said Butler. “We’re getting a lot of inquiries from manufacturers who are looking to expand or relocate here, which is always a good sign.”
Butler said Georgia’s pro-business environment will help create much-needed jobs. However, he noted that the unrest in Washington is only hindering the growth process.
“I believe the recent lack of leadership in Washington is a contributing factor to the overall lack of confidence in the economy,” Butler said. “Due to this lack of confidence, we are seeing a business community which is hesitant to make further investments in this economy.”
The number of long-term unemployed workers increased for the first time in five months, up 600 to 251,100. The number of long-term unemployed remains 9.1 percent higher than the 230,100 in July of last year. The long-term unemployed account for 52.9 percent of Georgia’s 474,577 jobless workers.
Also, first-time claims for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits in July rose to 61,570, up 2,589, or 4.4 percent, from 58,981 in June. Most of the first-time claims were filed in manufacturing, education, services and construction. However, on the positive side, there was an over-the-year decrease of 6,519 initial claims, or 9.6 percent, from 68,089 filed in July of last year.
July marked the 48th consecutive month Georgia has exceeded the national unemployment rate, which is currently 9.1 percent, down from 9.2 percent in June.
Around 40 parents and students attended the school board meeting Thursday, with those allowed to speak asking for a reconsideration of the new centralized bus stops.
Three parents addressed the board during public comments. Many remaining parents left disgruntled that the board had not yielded some floor time so more parents could speak. Some indicated their frustration with the board for not offering more feedback to parent comments.
A parents group has since organized a meeting next Tuesday, August 23, at 6:30 p.m. to be held at the Chamber of Commerce Building for discussing the issue further. Willie Prather, among organizing parents, asked that anyone concerned with the bus routes attend.
Donna Tucker, along with other residents of the Bethany Moorings subdivision, said safety is the prime concern involved with the school bus stop for that south Pickens community.
“It is a very unsafe corner with cars flying up the hill,” she told the board. “There are no streetlights or sidewalks with kids walking in the street in the dark.”
During a break in the meeting, many other parents had harsh words about the situation and about not getting a better response from the board.
See more parent comments from those at the meeting and additional school board news in our print edition now on sale.
By Duane Cronic
The 2011 edition of the Pickens High School football season will kick off this Thursday, August 18, at Pickens High Stadium with a scrimmage game against West Hall starting at 7 p.m. The Dragons just completed two weekend mini-camps as well as summer workouts. The Dragons will be a fairly young squad this year with only six seniors on the roster. They include Matt Stracener, Corey Evans, D.J. Williams, Ryan Neill, Jake Ledbetter and John Burmeister. Both offense and defense will have four returning starters, and with only six seniors, the Dragons will rely heavily on their underclassmen.
Entering his 19th year as the head coach for the Dragons is Steve Sewell who is excited about the upcoming season, stating, “We have had a very good off-season; the kids have worked hard and we are excited about the upcoming season.”
Above, Tanner Brumby (red jersey) will be leading the 2011 Dragon offense as the starting QB.
The Pickens County Animal Shelter re-opened Tuesday afternoon following a 14-day quarantine after a puppy left there was found to be carrying the parvovirus. No other animals at the shelter became sick outside of the puppy’s littermates.
Tuesday afternoon Deputy Brandi Strawn said the shelter is housing 121 animals looking for loving homes, 47 cats and kittens and 74 dogs and puppies.
“We’re all set and ready to adopt these animals to great homes,” Strawn said. “I’ve got some of the most loveable cats.”
Above, Shelter personnel in the Camp Road facility at an earlier date. The shelter re-opened yesterday with 121 animal awaiting adoption.
Strawn specifically mentioned two-year-old Laffy, a large, orange domestic short hair cat who is seriously in need of a new family.
“She’s been here for a while. She’s a good 12 pounds – she’s a big kitty,” Strawn said. “In the dog department I’ve also got a rat terrier mix named Mary. She’s full of energy and has a little bobtail. She’s very, very affectionate.”
Mary is approximately eight months old.
Strawn said anyone could find a pet appropriate for their needs – from young and feisty to older, calm pets.
“We’ve even got young animals that are very calm that would work well for senior citizens,” Strawn said. “We’ve got some lap cats that would just love to be petted and loved on.”
Shelter hours are Tuesday – Friday from 12-5 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Next Saturday, August 27 is volunteer weekend where people of all ages are encouraged to come walk and spend time with the animals from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Battery-powered smoke detector alarms are available for free from Pickens County fire stations and the City of Jasper firehouse to county residents without an alarm at home. .
Alarms being given away were purchased on the initiative of Community Thrift Store founder, Don Russell, with funds generated through the Thrift Store, Pickens County Fire Chief Bob Howard explained.
"Each fire station, they have smoke detectors to give to folks that don't have one," Howard said. "All they need to do is just go by the station and just sign for one. Supplies are limited," he added.
At right, Firefighter Zack Petty of Marble Hill outside the City of Jasper Firehouse with one of the smoke detector alarms now available for free to county residents without one.