Georgia unemployment rate hits lowest level since November 2008

Labor department: More jobs being created, with jobless claim filings slipping

tadams@ledger-enquirer.comDecember 19, 2013 

The Georgia Department of Labor offices on Seventh Street and Veterans Parkway. 10.03.13

ROBIN TRIMARCHI — rtrimarchi@ledger-enquirer.com

A surge in job creation — particularly in the Atlanta metro area — took a bite out of Georgia’s unemployment rate in November, with it falling to 7.7 percent.

That’s down from 8.1 percent in October and compares to an 8.7 percent jobless rate in November of last year, the Georgia Department of Labor reported Thursday.

“The number of new jobs is the best October to November growth since 2007 and the number of new (unemployment) claims is the lowest for any month since September 2007. Both of these numbers pre-date the recession,” said Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler.

The state’s unemployment rate hasn’t been this low since November 2008, when it stood at 7.6 percent, the department said. That was nearly a year into the Great Recession.

The year-over-year numbers show Georgia generating 91,200 jobs, with Atlanta contributing 59,200 of those. Metro area figures released Thursday showed Columbus adding 500 positions over the past year, with the workforce total now at 121,200.

“The November to November job growth is the strongest for that period in eight years,” Butler said. “The growth came in several industries, which indicates a broad job market recovery.”

Just in the past month, however, there were 19,500 jobs created statewide, the department said. The biggest gainers were trade, transportation and warehousing, although positions were added in the sectors of government, financial services, construction, education, health care, manufacturing and information services.

Layoffs also appear to be slowing as well, the department said, with first-time filings for unemployment benefits down by 6,351 from October to November to just under 34,000 claims.

The number of Georgians officially unemployed was also down to 363,055 in November, which is about 20,300 lower and the fewest in that category since October 2008.

Among metro areas, the only cities not adding jobs year over year were Valdosta, Rome, Hinesville, Warner Robins and Brunswick. Athens and Macon added 1,200 and 1,300 positions, respectively.

On the jobless claims side, Columbus actually had saw a slight increase in first-time filings year over year, with 23 more people seeking assistance for a total of 1,120. Albany and Gainesville were the only other metro areas to see jobless claims rise.

The labor department is expected to release November unemployment rates for the state’s metro areas next Thursday. The Columbus rate in October was 8.3 percent.

GEORGIA’S METRO AREAS

Here are the November 2013 workforce totals for Georgia’s metro areas:

• Atlanta — 2,447,600

• Augusta — 216,500

• Savannah — 160,000

• Columbus — 121,200

• Macon — 101,300

• Athens — 91,200

• Gainesville — 76,600

• Dalton — 63,800

• Albany — 62,300

• Warner Robins — 59,000

• Valdosta — 54,500

• Brunswick — 40,400

• Rome — 39,300

• Hinesville — 19,500

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