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January 30-- The Georgia Department of Labor announced today that the unemployment rate in the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region increased to 10.2 percent in December, up one-tenth of a percentage point from 10.1 percent in November. The rate was 11.3 percent in December a year ago.

The rate rose primarily because the number of new layoffs, represented by initial claims for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, increased to 3,712, up by 1,900, or 104.9 percent, from 1,812 in November. Claims increased in several sectors, including manufacturing, administrative and support services, construction, and accommodations and food services. There were 2,445 claims in December 2012.

Metro Athens had the lowest area jobless rate at 5.2 percent, while the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest at 10.2 percent. 

Meanwhile, Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for December was 7.4 percent, down from 7.6 percent in November. The rate was 8.7 percent in December a year ago.