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      Albany unemployment jumps to 11.8 percent

      Albany's unemployment rate hit 11.8 percent in January, up 1.3 percent from December

      Albany's unemployment rate hit 11.8 percent in January, up 1.3 percent from December. That increase is keeping the local department of labor office busy.

      Ramona Hawkins moved to Albany from Atlanta because she couldn't find work. She has a part-time job, but she says it's not enough. She sends out 15 resumes a week and comes to the Department of Labor every day.

      "I'll tweak my resume. I'll look through new openings," Hawkins said.

      Also looking for jobs is Ula Peterson who has been out of work since July. She says she sends out 100 resumes a week.

      "God is my health and my strength, and he's been providing for me throughout, and I know that I will secure employment," said Peterson.

      In the meantime, more and more job seekers like Peterson and Hawkins are collecting while they wait to hear from employers. Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond says metro Albany lost 1,200 jobs in January. To help, they're offering new work initiative programs for unemployed Georgians.

      "Be flexible. I think that's probably the most important characteristic you can have in a very difficult job market," Thurmond told FOX 31 News during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon.

      For more information on the Department of Labor's job programs go to www.dol.state.ga.us.

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