Ga. unemployment rate hits 8.1 percent in December

ATLANTA (AP) - The Georgia Department of Labor says the state's
unemployment rate shot to 8.1 percent in December, the highest rate
reported since March 1983.

The department reported Thursday that 393,168 Georgians were
jobless. About 40 percent of those people are getting unemployment

The March 1983 jobless rate was also 8.1 percent.

The rate was 3.6 percentage points higher than the 4.5 percent
of people who were without work at the same time last year. It was
also a 0.7-point increase over November's 7.4 percent unemployment

The labor department says there are 121,800 fewer payroll jobs
than last year, a decrease of about 2.9 percent.

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