ATLANTA -- Georgia lost 2,400 jobs in September, according to state data. It helped keep Georgia at the bottom of the national unemployment rate, at 7.9%.

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The September rate was a slight improvement over the 8.1% rate of August. But in both months, Georgia ranked last in the nation in unemployment.

Politically, the unemployment question has dogged Gov. Nathan Deal since midsummer. He got more questions about it during a debate Sunday.

"Unemployment rates are only good for political advertising as a general rule. Economists don't pay any attention to them," Deal said.

Economist Tom Smith takes a different view.

"Unemployment stats reveal quite a bit about the economy and is one of the key indicators of what's happening in the economy," said Smith of Emory's Goizueta Business School.

"No single statistic ever tells the whole story." Dr. Smith added.

Deal has pointed to job creation statistics. Since Deal became governor, state data shows Georgia created more than 283,000 new jobs . But the loss of 2800 jobs in September kept the state's unemployment rate on the ugly side, Smith said. Democrat Jason Carter, who is running against Deal, called the jobless rate "absolutely unacceptable."

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