Ga. unemployment drops to 9.7%

Updated:

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga.,None —

December marked the largest two-month decrease in Georgia's unemployment since 1977.

December's seasonally adjusted rate is at 9.7 percent. That's compared to more than 10 percent in December 2010.

The unemployment rate declined for the third month in a row. The labor commissioner said 11,500 Georgians went back to work in December, and the new jobs are coming from hard-hit areas such as construction and manufacturing.
  
State labor commissioner Mark Butler said in order for the trend to continue, the government needs to step up by stepping out of the way.

“As long as we continue to do the right kind of work, in state government and making sure we're getting out of the way of businesses, allowing them the opportunity to expand and grow, I think Georgia is well positioned,” Butler said.

He said financially, Georgia is headed in the right direction, but the state has a long way to go. When comparing year to year numbers, Georgia still had fewer jobs last December than the previous year  --  down two-tenths of a percentage point.

Butler blames cuts in state and local government for that decrease.

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