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Expert: Unemployment numbers may rise in Bulloch
GSU professor says summer usually means job losses locally
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       The U.S. unemployment rate edged down slightly to 9.5 percent for the month of June, according to numbers released from the Labor Department last week.
       But, what does that mean for Bulloch County residents?
       Tony Barilla, an associate professor in the School of Economic Development at Georgia Southern University, said that while unemployment rates are down currently, he expects the number to rise over the coming months in Bulloch County.
       "(Unemployment rates) are fluctuating," Barilla said. "I wouldn't say that they've spiked, but I would say that they fluctuate. They're actually fluctuating down a little bit right now. I'm actually expecting them to go back up because you get that reverse-summer effect here in Bulloch County."
       According to the Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL), in May 2009, Bulloch County's non-adjusted unemployment rate was 8.3 percent. Revised numbers for April 2010 placed the unemployment rate at 8.6 percent.
       The latest estimates, which are preliminary figures for May 2010, show the Bulloch County unemployment rose to a rate of 9 percent.
       Additionally, preliminary GDOL data shows that the Statesboro has a non-unadjusted unemployment rate of 10.7 percent, meaning that 1,380 people in a labor force of 12,894 were out of a job as of this May. That's up from 9.8 percent in April 2010 and 9.5 percent in May 2009.
       Barilla said that typically, summer is a time for job gain. Bulloch County is an exception.
       "Usually in most parts of the world, summer causes job gain, but in Bulloch County, I think summertime causes job loss."
       Barilla explained that when enrollment at Georgia Southern drops during the summer months, businesses lose a chunk of their customer base, forcing them to cut back on operating hours and the number of employees needed.
       "A lot of businesses go on skeleton hours when the bulk of the college students are no longer in Statesboro," Barilla said. "So, you may have seen some type of unemployment jump here in Statesboro just based on the fact that classes are no longer in session. Reduced enrollment for the summer means reduced business opportunities for the folks in Statesboro."
       He used local pizza restaurants as an example.
       "For example, pizza places during the school year are open until two or three in the morning," Barilla said. "During the summer, they're closing at nine or ten at night. You don't need all those extra drivers or all of those extra workers."
Barilla said that the economy is going to be rough over the next few months due to typical economic trends.
       "The next few months aren't going to be great," Barilla said. "The simple reason is in fall, historically, our economy has went into slowdowns."
       However, Barilla said that this is a great time for people, if they have the means, to make those larger purchases that they have held out on.
       "Your parents and your grandparents always told you that you save for a rainy day," Barilla said. "This is an economic rainy day and if people are akin to what's happening economically and have the means to, this is a great time to go out and buy products that you want."

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