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August 29-- Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said Thursday that the Heart of Georgia region saw a rise in its labor force in July.

 Preliminary results showed the 17-county area also saw its annual number of initial claims decrease in July.

“Georgia continues to perform well in terms of jobs, claims and other data I’m seeing,” said Butler. “Georgia’s strong economy was also clear in our local communities in July, a month that saw several again set records.”

Nationally, the unemployment rate was unchanged in July at 3.7 percent. Georgia’s rate dropped 0.1 percentage points to settle at 3.6 percent.  A year ago, Georgia’s unemployment rate sat at 3.8 percent.

 Rates fell or held steady across nine of Georgia’s 12 planning regions.

In the region, the unemployment rate rose in July by 0.4 percentage points, settling at 5.8 percent. A year ago, the rate was 6.5 percent.

The labor force increased in July by 457. The July total was 116,964. That number is down by 1,709 from the total from July 2018.  

 The Heart of Georgia region ended July with 110,157 employed residents.  The number decreased by 101 in July and fell by 791 as compared to last July.

 The number of unemployment claims rose in July by about 108 percent. When compared to last July, claims were down by 41 percent.

The Heart of Georgia region includes Appling, Bleckley, Candler, Dodge, Emanuel, Evans, Jeff Davis, Johnson, Laurens, Montgomery, Tattnall, Telfair, Toombs, Treutlen, Wayne, Wheeler, and Wilcox counties.