Georgia jobless rate dips to 7.7 percent in October

A surge in private-sector jobs helped lower Georgia’s unemployment rate to 7.7 percent in October, an improvement from 7.9 percent in September.

The Georgia Department of Labor released the figures Thursday, showing the state adding 33,800 jobs in October for a grand total of 4,166,400. That’s the highest number of filled positions since May 2008, roughly six months into the Great Recession.

“Our state’s private-sector employers get the credit because they created more than 91 percent of the new jobs in October and all of them since October of last year,” Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said in a statement.

The unemployment rate in October 2013 was 7.8 percent.

The department said 14,200 positions were created last month in trade, transportation and warehousing, with professional and business services adding 7,900, and education and health services chipping in 4,900. Other sector gainers were construction (1,200 jobs), leisure and hospitality (1,100), information services (1,000) and financial services (500). There were 3,000 jobs generated by state and local governments.

Butler noted Georgia has added 96,000 jobs over the past year.

“We had significant over-the-year growth in almost every sector, which shows the overall strength in our job recovery,” he said. “I’m especially encouraged that the number of construction jobs grew by nearly five percent to give us the most jobs in that industry in five years.”

In the category of new claims for jobless assistance, just under 33,000 individuals submitted filings statewide in October, the department said. That was up slightly from September, but down from about 40,000 claims filed in October of last year.

Metro area data issued Thursday show Columbus picking up 300 jobs over the the last 12 months, with a total of 122,300 in October. Every metro area except Warner Robins, Dalton and Albany added positions.

In Columbus, there were 920 people filing new unemployment assistance claims in October, down from 1,114 a year ago. Every metro area except Dalton saw lower claim totals last month compared to October of last year.

Here are the October 2014 job totals for Georgia’s metro areas and the jobs created or lost in them over the past year:

Atlanta — 2,489,100; up by 57,800 jobs

Augusta — 224,700; up by 7,500

Savannah — 166,700; up by 3,300

Columbus — 122,300; up by 300

Macon — 99,700; up by 1,000

Athens — 91,900; up by 400

Gainesville — 80,100; up by 2,300

Dalton — 63,800; down by 200

Albany — 61,600; down by 200

Warner Robins — 58,800; down by 100

Valdosta — 54,700; up by 300

Brunswick — 40,800; up by 400

Rome — 39,700; up by 600

Hinesville — 20,000; up by 100