The pace of job creation began to pick up steam in April, with Georgia’s unemployment rate slipping to 8.2 percent, down from 8.4 percent in March.
That’s also down from 9.1 percent in April a year ago, the Georgia Department of Labor reported Thursday.
“At 8.2 percent, Georgia’s unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been since December 2008,” Mark Butler, the state’s labor commissioner, said in a statement. “While a two-tenths of a percent drop in one month is good to see, the most important part of that is that we saw Georgia employers create over 31,000 jobs.”
To be exact, there were 31,200 new jobs, with the data showing Atlanta specifically gaining momentum over the past year. Since April 2012, the state capital has added 48,200 positions.
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The new jobs generated from March to April were in the sectors of leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, trade and transportation, education and health services, and construction, the department said.
“We’re seeing a lot of positives in construction,” Butler said. “When we look at over-the-year growth in construction jobs, we’re seeing our best numbers since 2007, which predates the recession.”
The state has added 900 construction jobs over the past year, he said.
Other statewide statistics released Thursday showed first-time filings for benefits were down over the past year from 47,492 to 42,644, while the number of Georgians classified as long-term unemployed (out of work more than 26 weeks) dropped by 4,000 to 177,100.
The metro area data, meanwhile, had Columbus losing 200 jobs over the past year, with the local workforce now at 120,100. Other metro areas losing jobs year-over-year were Gainesville, Brunswick, Dalton, Hinesville and Warner Robins, while Albany and Rome were flat.
First-time claim filings in the Columbus area did fall by 214 from April a year ago to the current 839. Athens, Macon, Atlanta, Rome, Dalton, Warner Robins and Brunswick also experienced declines in claims filed.