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December 4-- The Georgia Department of Labor announced today that the unemployment rate in the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha’s region increased to 10.9 percent in October, up five-tenths of a percentage point from 10.4 percent in September. The rate was 11.3 percent in October a year ago.

Because of the federal government shutdown, no states were allowed to publish local labor market data for September. During the interim, the rate for the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region fell from 11.7 percent in August to 10.4 percent for September.

The rate rose in October primarily for two reasons – an increase in new layoffs and an increase in the number of unemployed residents.

The number of new layoffs, represented by initial claims for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, increased to 2,725, up by 732, or 36.7 percent, from 1,993 in September. Claims were filed in several sectors, led by manufacturing and construction. There were 3,654 claims in October 2012.

The number of unemployed people in the region increased to 13,333, up by 355 from 12,978 in September. There were 14,029 unemployed in October 2012.

The labor force, which is the number of people employed plus those unemployed but actively looking for work, declined by 1,620 to 122,648 in October, down from 124,268 in September. The labor force was down by 1,525 from 124,173 in October 2012.

Metro Athens had the lowest area jobless rate at 5.8 percent, while the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest at 10.9 percent.

Meanwhile, Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for October was 8.1 percent, down from 8.3 percent in September. The rate was 8.8 percent in October a year ago.