Even with more people entering the labor force in Georgia, the state’s job creation helped nudge the unemployment rate lower in July to 5 percent.
That’s down from 5.1 percent in June and compares to 5.7 percent in July a year ago, the Georgia Department of Labor reported Thursday.
“The unemployment rate dropped as Georgia employers hired more people and created more jobs,” said Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler.
The state’s labor force rose by about 13,000 individuals in July to just under 4.9 million, the department said, with it having increased by nearly 98,000 since early January. The labor force consists of both those employed and those without jobs, but actively seeking one.
It helped that the ranks of Georgia’s employed climbed by 19,242 from June to July, giving the state a total of 4,639,363 with a job now. The number of people without jobs fell by about 6,200 for a current total of nearly 242,000 as well. Both of those figures worked to offset the labor force surge, leading to the slightly lower July unemployment rate.
Georgia did see job increases month over month in health care, social assistance, manufacturing, trade, transportation and warehousing. There were job losses in local government — most due to public schools on summer break — as well as in professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, information services and financial activities.
The state has added 116,200 jobs year over year, giving Georgia a total of 4,270,200, the department said. Adding positions were professional and business services, trade, transportation and warehousing, leisure and hospitality, education and health services, construction, manufacturing, government and financial services. The primary job loser was information services.
Statewide, first-time claims for unemployment benefits jumped by 8,344 to 35,639 in July, with most of that increase coming in manufacturing and administrative services, which includes temporary staffing agencies, the department said. Such filings for assistance are a sign of fresh layoffs in the workforce. Year over year, however, first-time claims were up by only 152.
Metro area data released Thursday show Columbus gaining 1,200 jobs from July a year ago. The local job count now stands at 121,800. Every metro area in Georgia picked up positions year over year, with the exception of Hinesville, near Fort Stewart.
The labor department will release July unemployment rates for the state’s metro areas next week. The Columbus-area rate in June was 6.6 percent, which was up from 5.7 percent in May.
GEORGIA’S METRO AREAS
Here are the July 2016 job totals for Georgia’s metro areas:
▪ Atlanta — 2,656,200
▪ Augusta — 229,600
▪ Savannah — 179,500
▪ Columbus — 121,800
▪ Macon — 103,800
▪ Athens — 93,600
▪ Gainesville — 86,500
▪ Warner Robins — 70,800
▪ Dalton — 68,300
▪ Albany — 61,700
▪ Valdosta — 56,100
▪ Brunswick — 43,700
▪ Rome — 40,400
▪ Hinesville — 19,400