Political Notes — State’s jobless rate remains about the same

[private]Georgia’s unemployment rate remained steady in January at 5.5 percent, the state Department of Labor reported.

That represented a slight increase over the 5.4 percent jobless rate initially announced for December, a rate that was later revised to 5.5 percent. The national unemployment rate for January was 4.8 percent.

“While the rate was unchanged, our employers continued to create jobs, our labor force continued to grow and more people went to work,” Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said.

There were overall job gains of 6,500, with increases in financial activities segment, (4,300 jobs), leisure and hospitality (4,200), trade, transportation, and warehousing (3,700), government (1,600), manufacturing (1,100), and construction (900).

There were job losses in professional and business services (7,700), education and health services (1,100), and other areas such as repair, maintenance, laundry and personal services, (1,000).

The number of initial claims filed for unemployment insurance benefits increased by 17,161 (52.7 percent) to 49,718 in January.

New real estate commissioner

Gov. Nathan Deal nominated Lynn Dempsey as commissioner of the Georgia Real Estate Commission following the retirement of William L. Rogers Jr. The nomination was subsequently approved by the Georgia Real Estate Commission.

Dempsey is the former president of Dempsey Auction Company and a past president of the Georgia Auctioneers Association. He is the husband of state Rep. Katie Dempsey (R-Rome).

Judicial appointments

Gov. Nathan Deal today has appointed Natalie Spires Paine as district attorney of the Augusta Judicial Circuit. Paine, who had been the chief assistant D.A., will replace R. Ashley Wright, who was named a Superior Court judge.

Paine has a bachelor’s degree from Georgia College and a law degree from the Charleston School of Law.

Deal has also appointed Sara M. McArthur of Athens as a senior Juvenile Court judge, Leon M. Braun Jr. of Hinesville as a senior State Court judge, and J. David Roper of Augusta as a senior Superior Court judge.

Essig moves up

Alan Essig, the founder of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, has been named the next executive director of the Washington-based Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy and the Citizens for Tax Justice. He will replace Robert McIntyre, director of CTJ, and Matthew Gardner, former executive director of ITEP, on April 3.

“ITEP and CTJ have been leading voices for progressive tax policy on both the state and national levels for decades, and I am honored to be the next executive director,” Essig said.

Essig was a budget analyst for the Georgia House of Representatives before starting up the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute (GBPI) in 2004. The organization eventually grew to a staff of 10 with a budget of more than $1 million, and is a leading provider of budget and policy analysis.

© 2017 by The Georgia Report


Tags: Alan Essig , Georgia unemployment rate , Mark Butler , real estate commission