Georgia’s unemployment rate fell to 10.2 percent in February from a revised 10.3 percent in January, the state labor department said Thursday. Initially, the January rate was pegged at 10.4 percent, which had tied an all-time high.
The February rate was down slightly — 0.1 percent — from a year ago, the labor department said.
February marked the 41st consecutive month Georgia has exceeded the national unemployment rate, which is currently 8.9 percent.
“Job creation is the most important aspect of an economic recovery, and the slight increase in jobs in February gives me reason for cautious optimism,” state Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said in a statement. “Also, I’m encouraged that we continue to see a reduction in the number of new layoffs. However, the growing number of long term unemployed is troubling.”
In February, there were 3,795,400 payroll jobs — up 0.7 percent from January, the labor department said. Most of the increases came in construction and service-related industries, including professional and business services, education, health care, and leisure and hospitality.
Also, 55,576 laid-off workers filed initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits in February — a decrease of 38 percent from January and 15.9 percent from a year ago. Most of the first-time claims were filed in manufacturing, construction, administrative and support services, and trade.
But the persistent problem of long-term unemployment keeps getting worse.
There were 263,200 long-term unemployed Georgians in February — those who have been out of work for at least 27 weeks. This represents an increase of 37.9 percent from February 2010 and 0.2 percent from January.
The long-term unemployed now account for a record-high 55.1 percent of the 478,104 jobless workers in Georgia.
- Henry Unger, The Biz Beat
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