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Unemployed in county exceeds state, nation
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Information released Thursday from the Georgia Department of Labor proved last week’s prediction from the local development authority to be accurate.


In Thursday’s report from the department of labor, 1,101 people are unemployed in Dawson County, equaling 9.9 percent of the county’s population.


According to the report, Dawson County’s unemployment percentage exceeds that of the state, 9.4 percent, as well as that of the country, 8.9 percent.


“The latest local unemployment rates reflect the severity of the on-going recession in Georgia,” said State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond, in the report Thursday.


“In 87 of our state’s 159 counties, double-digit unemployment is a sobering reality. A rising tide of joblessness is spreading across our state,” he added.


Unemployment statistics in Dawson County’s neighboring counties showed 8 percent in Forsyth, 8.9 percent in Hall and 11.9 percent in Lumpkin.


The reports that were released from the department of labor on March 19 showed the month of February set a new record high of state unemployment at 9.3 percent, surpassing the previous record of 8.5 percent in January.


It was based on those reports that the Development Authority of Dawson County expected the unemployment rate to continue its climb.


The unemployment rate in Georgia this time last year was 4.5 percent.


Charlie Auvermann, executive director of the Development Authority of Dawson County, noted that the adjusted figures placed the county at 9.3 percent in January, or a month ahead of the state.


“It is not a leading statistic we should be happy with,” he said.


Although the numbers for Dawson County are at their highest, surpassing the state and the nation, they are not as high as some other Georgia counties.


The three counties in the state with the highest unemployment rates are: Jenkins, 21.3 percent; Hancock 19.1 percent and Warren, 16.8 percent.


On the other end of the spectrum, the three counties in Georgia experiencing the lowest levels of unemployment are Lee and Long, both with 6.7 percent and Oconee, 6 percent.


According to Auvermann, rising jobless claims place more pressure on local county government to provide services at a time when tax revenue is declining.


It also increases the pressure on the state, as well as for Dawson County nonprofits and assistance organizations.


Linda Williams, president of the local chamber of commerce, said Dawson County needs to be realistic, but also optimistic about the situation.


Thurmond also urged job-seekers to expand their searches, explore new training and educational opportunities and make use of the re-employment services at the department’s 53 career centers around the state.