Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said Thursday that the Southern Georgia region kept its annual number of employed residents positive in December.

For the 18-county region, Southern Georgia saw its unemployment rate increase in December, preliminary numbers show.

“Georgia finished the year strong by continuing to add jobs in all major sectors,” Butler said. “Moving forward, we need to attract more people to the workforce, so we can fill these great jobs.”

In the region, the unemployment rate increased by 0.4 percentage points in December, settling at 3.4 percent. A year ago, the rate was 4 percent.

The labor force in Southern Georgia decreased by 604 in December, bringing the total to 178,846. The number has decreased by 56 when compared to the same month a year ago.

Southern Georgia lost 1,216 employed residents in December, bringing the total to 172,798. The number is up 974 for the year.

Claims for unemployment insurance were up by about 171 percent in December. They were up by about 84 percent when compared to the same month a year ago.

Employ Georgia, the GDOL’s online job listing service at employgeorgia.com showed 1,386 active job postings in Southern Georgia for December.

The Southern Georgia Regional Commission includes Atkinson, Bacon, Ben Hill, Berrien, Brantley, Brooks, Charlton, Clinch, Coffee, Cook, Echols, Irwin, Lanier, Lowndes, Pierce, Tift, Turner, and Ware counties.

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