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January 19-- The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) announced today that the state’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate increased for the fourth consecutive month to 5.4 percent in December, up one-tenth of a percentage point from 5.3 percent in November. In December 2015, the unemployment rate was 5.5 percent.

The rate rose as the state’s labor force grew and the number of new layoffs increased. 

“Jobseekers continue to join the labor force amid a growing level of confidence that they’ll be able to get a job and we’re seeing more people move to Georgia,” said State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. “While those jobseekers are searching for work, they’re counted as unemployed, which often leads to a slightly higher unemployment rate. And, we did see an increase in new layoffs, but many of them were seasonal and temporary.”

The labor grew by 22,420 to 4,993,859 in December. During that time, the number of unemployed increased by 6,908 to 270,894. The number of employed workers increased by 15,512 to 4,722,965.  Georgia’s labor force has grown by 209,436 since the first of the year, with 101,093 of that number coming in the last four months.  

While Georgia’s labor force continued to grow in December, the state’s labor participation rate climbed to 62.9 percent, its highest level in three-and-one-half years and the second consecutive month it has exceeded the national rate. The participation rate is the percentage of the state’s or nation’s population 16 years of age or older who are in the labor force.  The nation’s participation rate in December was 62.7 percent.