Georgia’s unemployment rate fell for the ninth consecutive month in April to 8.9 percent — the lowest level in more than three years, the state labor department said Thursday.
The jobless rate dropped from 9 percent in March and 9.8 percent from April 2011, the labor department said.
“We now have the lowest unemployment rate, the fewest unemployed workers, and the most jobs in Georgia in more than three years,” state Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said in a statement. “Our job market continues to improve at a modest and steady rate.”
The last time Georgia’s jobless rate was below 9 percent was in February 2009, when it was also 8.9 percent.
There were 423,495 unemployed workers in Georgia in April, the fewest since January 2009.
The rate declined as the number of new jobs grew by 31,900, to 3,926,000, the labor department said. It was the highest number of jobs in Georgia since January 2009. Job growth is up 0.8 percent from March.
The industries showing growth were: trade and transportation, 9,200 new jobs; leisure and hospitality, 9,200; professional and business services, 5,900; construction, 3,400; and education and healthcare, 2,700.
While Georgia gained jobs overall, state and local governments shed 3,300 jobs.
Also on the negative side, the percentage of long-term unemployed workers hit a record in April. There were 240,500 Georgians who have been out of work at least 27 weeks. That comprised 56.8 percent of all the unemployed in Georgia, which eclipsed the previous record of 56.4 percent in March 2011.
The number of first-time unemployment insurance claims in Georgia rose by 11.3 percent in April. Most of the increase came in manufacturing, trade, and administrative and support services. While initial claims increased over the month, the number declined by 12.6 percent from April 2011.
The state’s jobless rate still trails the nation, which posted 8.1 percent unemployment in April.