Georgia’s unemployment rate ticked lower in April, although the slight improvement was countered by an increase in the number of people who have been receiving jobless benefits more than two years.
The Georgia Department of Labor reported today the unemployment rate in April came in at 10.4 percent. That’s down from a revised 10.5 percent in March.
It’s the 31st month in a row that the state’s rate has exceeded the U.S. rate, which currently is 9.9 percent.
The department did report that the number of payroll jobs in Georgia rose by nearly 27,000 last month, the third straight month that has happened. But, again, those who have been unemployed for 27 months or longer jumped from 204,700 in March to 215,100, or about 5 percent, in April.
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“Although our job market is slowly improving, the continuing increase in the number of long-term unemployed Georgians is troubling,” Michael Thurmond, the state’s labor chief, said in a statement.
“The specter of structural unemployment is beginning to cast a long shadow across the American workplace,” he said.
Columbus, meanwhile, saw improvement in one statistical area over the past year, but worsened in another.
The number of local residents filing unemployment claims for the first time fell by 294, or about 21 percent, to 1,102 last month compared to April a year ago. But every metro area in the state experienced a decline in initial claims.
On the flip side, Columbus’ work force total dropped by 1,000, or nearly 1 percent, to 117,300. The work force in April of last year was 118,300. Every metro area in the state experienced a decline in their work forces, with the exception of Athens, Warner Robins, Rome and Hinesville.
Statewide, first-time jobless claims fell 28 percent year over year. Most of the claims being filed are in the trade, manufacturing and construction sectors, as well as in administrative and support services.