Savannah metro area unemployment up slightly in May

The dark picture for employment has been a running theme of my writing for a while now. So regular readers will not be surprised that the Savannah metro area’s not-seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for May was slightly higher than April (which was revised down .1%), and — more importantly — higher than a year ago. May is typically a good month for employment, so if there were a seasonal adjustment, the data would likely be a little worse.

Here’s the text of this morning’s press release:

ATLANTA — State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said today that the preliminary unadjusted unemployment rate in metro Savannah area increased to 8.5 percent in May, up one-tenth of a percentage point from a revised 8.4 percent in April. The April rate was first reported at a preliminary 8.5 percent. The jobless rate in metro Savannah in May a year ago was 8.3 percent.

The rate increased because about 2,400 new job seekers entered the labor force looking for work and while about 2,000 found a job, about 400 did not.

The lowest area rate, at 7.2 percent, was recorded in metro Athens, while the highest, at 12 percent, was in the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region in the Dublin area.

Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.8 percent from April to May. The April rate was first reported at a preliminary 9.9 percent, but was revised. The state’s jobless rate was 10 percent in May a year ago.

May marked the 46th consecutive month Georgia has exceeded the national unemployment rate, which is currently 9.1 percent, up from 9.0 percent in April.

Local area unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted. Georgia labor market data are available at

Please note that there’s a bit of deceptive wording in the press release (intentional?). Just reading this, one could assume that the metro area added a total of 2,000 jobs, but the Savannah metro area in May had 900 fewer jobs than May 2010, according to the Georgia Dept. of Labor.

June is always a bad month for employment, so the not-seasonally-adjusted data will almost certainly show an increase in unemployment in June– unless the number of people in the job market falls precipitously. There’s considerable variation in the data for Georgia metro areas, with Athens in best shape with a 7.2% for May and Dalton with 11.1%. (The Dublin area cited in the press release is not a metropolitan statistical area.)