published Friday, June 21st, 2013

Jobless rates rise for Georgia and Tennessee in May

May unemployment

* 8.3 percent in Tennessee, up 0.3 percent from May

* 8.3 percent in Georgia, up 0.1 percent from May

* 7.6 percent in the U.S. as a whole, up 0.1 percent from May

Employers in Georgia and Tennessee added 221,500 workers to their payrolls in May, but the jobless rates in both states still rose as even more people entered the labor market looking for work last month.

In Tennessee, the jobless rate rose by three-tenths of a percent to 8.3 percent, matching the Georgia unemployment rate for the first time since the recession hit in 2009. Unemployment in the Volunteer State has risen in each of the past four months, primarily due to more people seeking jobs in the state.

In Georgia, where unemployment has remained elevated through the recession, the jobless rate last month rose by a tenth of a percent to 8.3 percent in May.

Both states had higher unemployment than the U.S. jobless rate of 7.6 percent.

"Despite the slight increase in the unemployment rate, Georgia employers continued to create jobs for the fourth consecutive month, giving us the largest number of jobs we've had since December 2008," Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said Thursday. "And it's very encouraging that the number of construction jobs has increased for the third consecutive month."

Georgia employers added 15,800 jobs in May, while Tennessee employers boosted their rolls by 5,700 last month.

Despite job losses during May across Tennessee in construction, financial services and government, the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development said overall employment in the state was up due to continued gains in manufacturing, transportation, business services and leisure and hospitality.

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