The Georgia Department of Labor announced today that Georgia TMs seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 8.8 percent in July. The rate was three-tenths of a percentage point higher than the revised 8.5 percent in June, but three-tenths of a percentage point lower than 9.1 percent in July a year ago.The rate increased primarily because there was a significant number of new layoffs, and non-contract school employees remained unemployed because of the summer break, said State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. However, the vast majority of the layoffs were temporary, and the school employees are beginning to return to work.The number of new claims for unemployment insurance benefits rose 14,329 to 54,106 from 39,777 in June. For the past five years, the number of initial claims in July has risen by approximately 7,000. Approximately 11,000 of the new claims represented temporary layoffs, primarily in manufacturing and administrative and support services, while others were in trade and construction.However, the number of initial claims was down by 2,434 from 56,540 in July 2012. Reductions were in manufacturing, retail trade, educational services, administrative and support services, construction and health care and social assistance.There were 4,042,900 jobs in July, down 1,500 from 4,044,400 in June. Government shed 17,300 jobs, but the loss was tempered by a gain of 15,800 jobs in the private sector.Georgia TMs private sector employers have added jobs for six consecutive months, Butler said. And inside that private sector number, there TMs more encouraging news. Construction grew more than 4,000 jobs, which is one of the largest over-the-month gains in construction we TMve seen in a very long time. Most of the construction growth is in the specialty trades, such as electricians and carpenters, which are in-demand occupations.In addition to a, increase of 4,100 jobs in construction, additional gains were in trade and transportation, 5,000; manufacturing, 2,400; leisure and hospitality, 1,800; education and health services, 1,500; professional and business services, 900; and information services, 600.Georgia has gained 113,200 jobs, or 2.9%, since the 3,929,700 jobs in July 2012. The annual gains came in several sectors, including: professional and business services, 41,400; leisure and hospitality, 25,500; education and health services, 20,600; trade and transportation, 17,200; construction, 6,700; financial and information services, 2,700 each; and manufacturing, 1,500. Government lost 4,000 jobs.The labor force, which is the number of people employed plus those unemployed but actively looking for work, declined by 3,182 to 4,813,710 in July, down from 4,816,892 in June. However, it was up by 9,439 from 4,804,271 in July 2012.The number of long-term unemployed workers declined to 179,900, down by 1,300 from 181,200 in June.Connect with us on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter @GeorgiaDOL. You can access all pages via our website at www.dol.state.ga.us.