Jay Bookman

Opinion columnist and blogger with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, specializing in foreign relations, environmental and technology-related issues

Highest jobless rate in the country: That's who we are

Once again, Georgia had the highest unemployment rate in the nation in September at 7.9 percent. That's a slight improvement over August, when the state jobless rate was 8.1 percent. However, we still come in last, behind Mississippi at 7.7 percent.

Some other points to consider:

  • The national unemployment rate is 5.9 percent, and has fallen significantly from a year ago, when it was 7.2 percent. Georgia's jobless rate is essentially unchanged over that time frame. In September 2013, it was 8.0 percent, one tenth of a point higher than it stands today.
  • Overall, Mississippi gained 6,000 jobs last month. Florida gained 13,400. Alabama gained 11,400. South Carolina gained 13,000. Georgia lost 2,800 jobs, even after adjusting for seasonal factors.
  • Georgia manufacturing was hit particularly hard, with, 2,900 jobs disappearing in that category alone.
  • And no, Georgia's last-place standing in the jobless rate cannot be explained by an influx of people into the workforce, either from out of state or from here in Georgia. Since June, Georgia's civilian workforce has not grown, it has fallen by more than 20,000. Nationally, the civilian labor force has grown by 168,000 since June.
  • In the past year, Georgia's workforce has grown by 8,322. Nationally, the workforce has grown by 389,000.

In baseball, they have a saying: You are the player that the statistics on the back of your baseball card say you are. This is who we are. It is not who we used to be. It is not who we ought to be. But it is who we are.

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About the Author

Jay Bookman writes about government and politics, with an occasional foray into other aspects of life as time, space and opportunity allow.