Unemployment jumps, assistance organizations swamped
The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 9.3 percent in July from 9.0 percent in June, according to the Georgia Department of Labor. July's numbers mark the second consecutive month of increasing unemployment rates after nearly a year of falling numbers.
In a press release, State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler says "one of the main reasons for the increase in the unemployment rate was a large number of temporary layoffs in manufacturing ... but many of those people have already gone back to work."
"There are jobs out there to be found, you know, if you look for a job you'll be able to find something," said 36-year-old Johnny Worthen of Warner Robins.
Worthen says he has been out of a job since May after the grocery store distribution company he was working for had to downsize.
While Worthen remains optimistic the increase is only temporary, and the unemployment rate will continue inch downward, leaders at some assistance organizations aren't seeing the same trends.
Salvation Army Area Commander Major David Cope says his organization has seen a steady increase in the number of people needing assistance since last year.
"That concerns us a little bit, and we're not going to turn anybody away, so we're just praying and hoping the job market will pick up and more jobs become available and some of our clients and residents can find employment," Cope said.
Cope says his shelters are overflowing. Women and children are forced to sleep on mats in hallways because there aren't enough beds for everyone, and the organization's food and clothing programs are being stretched thin.
"They go out everyday looking, and it is frustrating for them to come back and not be able to find a job," Cope said.
While many are frustrated, others are taking their break in employment and turning it into a positive scenario.
"I used to be in school before but I had to stop going so now with this opportunity, I fell I'll go ahead and enroll again," said Worthen.
While the unemployment rate gained since last month, it's still decreased 0.7 percent since July last year.