State unemployment increased slightly in December, but is still significantly lower than it was a year ago, according to the Georgia Department of Labor.
Georgia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was up one-tenth of a percentage point to 8.6 percent in December. The jobless rate was 9.4 percent in December of 2011.
State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said there were several factors behind the increase.
"We had a modest increase in new layoffs, along with a small job loss driven primarily by seasonal layoffs in education."
Butler added, "The most important thing to remember from this report is that our unemployment rate is much lower, the pace of new layoffs slower, and the number of jobs significantly larger than a year ago."
The DOL said there were 70,200 more jobs in the state from over the last year. That growth was in professional and business services, trade, transportation and warehousing, education and healthcare, leisure and hospitality and manufacturing.
"After years of decline, the growth we've had over the past two years indicates that Georgia's manufacturing base is alive and beginning to thrive again. This is a great step closer to making Georgia the No. 1 place in the country to do business," Butler said.
The number of workers in Georgia out of work for more than 26 weeks decreased in December to 47.1 percent of those unemployed. That number was the lowest in 34 months.
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