Tifton Gazette

Local News

August 22, 2008

South Georgia unemployment rate climbs

TIFTON — South Georgia’s unemployment rate climbed to 6.7 percent in July, up six-tenths of one percent from June, according to the Georgia Department of Labor. U.S. Department of Labor figures show Tift County’s unemployment rate at 6.9 percent as of June 1.

“We are experiencing a rising tide of unemployment not seen in Georgia in more than 15 years,” Thurmond said. “The surge of jobless workers into our career centers is challenging our ability to keep pace with the demand for assistance at a time when it is most needed.”

Brad Day, president and CEO of the Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce, told members of the chamber Thursday at the group’s monthly meeting at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center, that prayers are with the employees of Tifton’s COI who recently learned that the distribution center will close mid-October. He said he and members of the chamber’s First Focus Team met with the center’s general manager and human resources director Tuesday and officials with the State Department of Labor also attended the meeting. A Rapid Response Team with the DOL will be at COI Wednesday to help “put people at ease” and lead them through the process to find available benefits. A job fair is also planned at the distribution center to introduce employers to job seekers and job seekers to employers.

“The State Department of Economic Development brought 10 large firms into regions that are hiring now and shared the information with COI so displaced workers would have tangible leads on jobs,” Day said.

Thurmond said 210 workers at COI will lose their jobs and the company plans to begin terminating employees immediately. He said the labor department provides a wide range of transitional services to laid-off workers. These options include: on-site employee information sessions describing services available through the DOL, assistance in filing claims for unemployment compensation, re-employment services, access to retraining opportunities, skills assessments and correlation with available employee opportunities, special workshops on career options and resume writing and interviewing skills.

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