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By Eric Stirgus November 30, 2011

Is Georgia job loss claim on the money?

Georgia Democrats are apparently following the Republican Party playbook on the economic blame game.

Over the past year, GOP leaders have blamed President Barack Obama, a Democrat, for the nation’s high unemployment rate and other fiscal troubles.

In Georgia, Democrats are criticizing Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, who took office in January, for some of this state’s economic problems.

Eric Gray, the communications director of the Georgia Democratic Party, attempted to make the case at a news conference in Augusta. Deal made promises to create jobs and hasn’t delivered, Gray said.

"I challenge him to show us where those jobs are," Gray was quoted as saying in the Augusta Chronicle.

Here’s the part that piqued our interest. The newspaper paraphrased Gray as saying Georgia is one of only seven states to lose jobs this year. The grand total of jobs lost? About 8,200, Gray said.

Most economists define job creation as a net increase in the number of people employed between one time frame and another and job losses as a net decrease between two periods of time.

In January, about 3,806,600 Georgians were employed, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is the main source economists and others use to track employment data. In September, the most recent month available when Gray made his comments, the number of Georgians employed dropped to an estimated 3,798,400.

The difference: 8,200 jobs.

The September estimate has been readjusted by the BLS to an estimated 3,797,500, which is a 9,100 job difference.

Through September, there were about 3,200 fewer people employed in manufacturing than there were at the beginning of the year and about 5,000 fewer Georgians in the financial activities industry. The biggest change was in government, where there were nearly 18,000 fewer Georgians employed.

Gray told us via email that "government losses are indeed still job losses."

There’s been a slight increase so far this year in the number of Georgians employed in construction, education and health services and in the category of leisure and hospitality, according to the federal data.

In October, the most recent month available, there were about 3,800,100 Georgians employed, a slight uptick from September. The October estimate is still less than the total in January.

Now, how many other states have lost jobs since the beginning of the year?

Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Maine, Vermont and Virginia lost jobs, according to the BLS. Including Georgia, that adds up to seven states.

In Georgia, the initial job loss estimate of 8,200 was a reduction of 0.2 percent. The job loss difference was greatest in Delaware, 0.6 percent.

It may seem premature to say Deal has not done enough to create more jobs in nine months. The claims that Gray made were correct on both points. But there is this caveat:  Many of the job losses were in government and not the private sector.

Gray’s statement is accurate but needs more context. We rate it Mostly True.

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