Georgia’s unemployment rate fell to 9.9 percent in November from 10.2 percent in October — the largest one-month decline in 34 years, the state labor department said Thursday.
The increase of 22,400 jobs from October was broader than just holiday hiring, the labor department said.
“We had the best November since 2007 for retail hiring, while seeing gains in the financial and business sectors,” Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said in a statement. “These two sectors have been hit very hard by the recession. This is encouraging news.”
The number of jobs rose 0.6 percent to 3,838,700 in November. In addition to retail, financial and business services, there were more jobs in education and health care.
Despite those gains, Georgia had 19,900 fewer jobs than in November of last year, when the unemployment rate was 10.4 percent, the labor department said. Economists often say the combination of fewer jobs and a lower unemployment rate — November 2011 vs. November 2010 — can be attributed to job seekers dropping out of the labor force because they’ve become too discouraged to look for work. Those not looking for work are not counted as unemployed.
“State and local governments have cut 22,500 jobs over the last year, while the private sector has gained 2,600 jobs.” Butler said. Private sector growth has been primarily in manufacturing and service-related industries.
Georgians still face a job market considerably worse than in the nation as a whole. November was the 52nd consecutive month Georgia has exceeded the national unemployment rate, which is currently 8.6 percent.
The number of first-time claims for unemployment insurance benefits rose to 57,573 in November — up 3.1 percent from October. Most of the increase was due to temporary layoffs in several industries, including manufacturing, wholesale trade and services. But there was an annual decrease in initial claims of 15 percent from November of last year.
The number of long-term unemployed workers — those out of work at least 27 weeks — declined 1.3 percent from October to November to 248,900. The long-term unemployed account for 53.2 percent of Georgia’s 467,722 jobless workers.