Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

State Figures Show More in Search of Work; Under-Employed Also Looking, Georgia Labor Chief Tells Jobs Summit

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

State Figures Show More in Search of Work; Under-Employed Also Looking, Georgia Labor Chief Tells Jobs Summit

Article excerpt

Byline: WALTER C. JONES

ATLANTA - Nearly 100,000 Georgians have jobs but consider themselves under-employed and are therefore seeking work, figures released Monday by the Georgia Department of Labor show.

In addition, another 26,700 unemployed have become discouraged and have quit hunting for a job. Added to the number officially listed as unemployed, 588,000 people in the state want a job.

Advocates for job seekers have long said the unemployment tally compiled by each state according to strict federal guidelines and released each month fail to show the true magnitude of those with employment needs. The new figures boost the official number by more than 26 percent.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Michael L. Thurmond, in releasing the figures for the first time, compared the lingering effects of the recent recession to the devastation in Haiti caused by a major earthquake a week ago.

"There are natural disasters and man-made disasters," he said. "... We can respond to this man-made disaster in a way that limits the severity and the duration of this recession."

Thurmond was addressing 100 or so people who attended a jobs summit sponsored by the Department of Labor to share information and discuss policy options for tackling unemployment. With the flood of federal stimulus money going to the department and other state agencies, lack of money is no longer the biggest challenge to good ideas, he said.

Those ideas are needed because the unemployment figures show that government programs haven't been fully effective, according to Carliss Williams, regional administrator of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration of Children and Families.

"To be quite honest with you, we've not seeing the growth [in jobs] that we wanted to see," she said. "We are putting out real dollars into these programs, and hopefully, we'll see more growth than we're seeing so far."

The daylong conference included presentations by federal, state and local officials about what their agencies offer for the unemployed. …

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