Reflecting the dismal economy nationwide, Lamar County’s unemployment rate rose to 8.8% in December, up from 8.3% in November and 4.8% in December 2007.Lamar’s work force numbered 8,169 people in December, with 7,452 working and 717 looking for jobs. In November, the numbers were 8,186 total people, 7,504 working and 682 seeking jobs.In the McIntosh Trail region, Spalding County was at 10.2% in December, Upson County was at 9.8%, Butts County was at 8.6% and Pike County was at 8.1%.Initial unemployment claims for Lamar County in December were 523, as compared to 212 in November and 241 in December 2007. At 311 more people, the monthly change was 146.7% while the annual change of 282 more people was 117%.The unemployment rate in the McIntosh Trail area rose to a preliminary unadjusted rate of 9.4% in December, up 3.7% over the year from December 2007, when it was 5.7%. The jobless rate in the McIntosh Trail area rose seven-tenths of one percent from a revised 8.7% in November.Georgia’s unemployment rate rose to 8.1% in December, the highest in almost 26 years. It was up 3.6% from 4.5% at this same time last year. The December unemployment rate was up seven-tenths of a percent from a revised 7.4% in November. The last time Georgia posted a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate at this level was in March 1983 when the rate was also 8.1%. The state rate remained above the national rate of 7.2% for the 11th straight month. At present, 393,168 unemployed Georgians are looking for work. Of that number, 156,719, or 40%, are drawing unemployment insurance benefits. Over the last year, the number of payroll jobs decreased 121,800 or 2.9%. Jobs were lost in manufacturing, construction and trade, along with professional and business services including temporary employment agencies. Jobs were added in health care, education and with the federal government.