Metro Atlanta’s jobless rate falls to lowest level in more than 3 years

Metro Atlanta’s unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent in April — its lowest level since December 2008 when it was 7.7 percent, the state labor department said Thursday.

The jobless rate dropped from 8.7 percent in March and 9.3 percent a year ago.

The rate declined because the number of new jobs grew by 14,800 to 2,331,100. That was highest number of jobs in metro Atlanta since November 2011.

For the core metro counties, Gwinnett posted the lowest rate at 7.6 percent. Cobb was next with 8 percent, followed by DeKalb (8.9 percent), Fulton (9.2 percent) and Clayton (10.5 percent).

Statewide, Metro Athens had the lowest area rate at 6.5 percent, while metro Dalton had the highest at 11.4 percent.

Last week, the labor department said Georgia’s unemployment rate declined for the ninth consecutive month in April to 8.9 percent. It the first time in more than three years the rate has dropped below 9 percent.

Statewide, the rate declined as the number of new jobs grew by 31,900, to 3,926,000. That was the highest number of jobs in Georgia since January 2009.

The industries showing growth were: trade and transportation; leisure and hospitality; professional and business services; construction; and education and healthcare. While the state gained jobs overall, state and local governments shed 3,300 jobs.

Georgia and metro Atlanta still trail the national unemployment rate, currently at 8.1 percent.

53 comments Add your comment

Obama

May 24th, 2012
5:54 am

Thanks for your support of the stimulus. Otherwise, the unemployment rate would be above 8%.

Billy

May 24th, 2012
6:34 am

LOL, yeah, right. The stimulus DIDN’T help; otherwise, the employment level would have immediately stopped falling and went back up.
The economy has barely grown since PBO and the Dims took office in 2008; all the growth has happened in spite of what they did, not because of it.
Why are people sitting on their money instead of investing it if the gov’t environment for business is so good? Because it isn’t.
When, (not if), PBO and the Dims are replaced in November, business and employment will vault into positive territory, almost overnight.
There’s a new generation of suckers born every thirty years that falls for the ultraleftist propaganda. It takes abject failure, like in the late 70s, to jolt people out of the fog and to realize that the liberals don’t have a clue what they’re talking about. They know a lot about deceiving people, but as for gov’t and business, they don’t know stump.
Can’t wait for November…

Will

May 24th, 2012
6:56 am

What really happned is that the republicans took back the house. When the democrats took over congress in 2006, the problems accelerated. Thankfully, Pelosi was ejected from the speaker’s chair and the accelerating insanity stopped.

Mary A

May 24th, 2012
7:29 am

Another bogus article…really have you talked to all those that lost their benefits and are under employed and not employed at all, or never were counted in the first place. Great job AJC on reporting fair, sad to say some people will continue to believe this instead of researching and knowing the facts.

Progress

May 24th, 2012
7:42 am

26 straight months of job growth nationally. The economy started turning around the month the stimulus was enacted, and unemployment would have improved more quickly if it had been bigger. Obama is spending at a lower rate (less increase) than any president since Eisenhower, despite what the Republican lemmings are led to believe. The Republican messiahs, Reagan and W. Bush, spent more than any other president during that time. We’ve already tried the policies that Romney advocates and they have repeatedly proved to be a resounding failure. But unfortunately, we’ll continue to have uneducated, lower middle class “conservatives” (like above) who try to pin the blame on Democrats when they don’t know enough about the economy to realize they are in the position they’re in because of their own ideology (Georgia’s recovery has been slower than the rest of the country because of the policies of the state Republicans). It’s unfortunate that they’ll keep voting against their interests and put themselves in a worse position over time.

Carlos

May 24th, 2012
7:50 am

Now Romney is promising unemployment rate of 6 % or lower. Truth of the matter is the recovery is slow and anyone promising a rapid change is selling you snake oil.

Underpaid

May 24th, 2012
8:29 am

Progress, to talk about what Obama has done they way you are is crazy. Once the Republicans took back the house that is when things began to get better. The Democrats were what ruined this country to begin with.

Ricky Bobby

May 24th, 2012
8:38 am

GOPers, who needs facts when you have a good lie to cling on? Face it, your message is not the same as the reality. I would rather have Obama spending money on Americans than Bush spending money on foreign nations.

no jobs

May 24th, 2012
8:39 am

I can’t find any good jobs–the only things out there are low rent jobs in retail working with a bunch of morons. I’m staying on unemployment until something good comes along

KD

May 24th, 2012
8:40 am

@ Mary A….ditto!

Thomas

May 24th, 2012
8:41 am

Add to negative job losses in Ga. 2000 teachers and custodians in 6 metro counties fired during 5/2012/ 27,000 Hewlett Packard Employees nationwide about 10% based in Ga fired 5/23/2012 Acuity Brands 470 workers in Cochran Ga . all losing jobs during next 2 months . This was a large union run manufacturing plant in cental Ga Other hot spots nationwide 900 fired by General Mills in Minneapolis , Mn 5/21/2012 reason to improve their profit on Cherrios!!

New York 25000 expected to be fired from banks yet multi billion losses at JPMorgan blamed on one “rouge European trader? CEO voted to still be paid $22 million while head of rouge department allowed to retire after 30 years of great service eve though latest losses wiped out entire contributions of her department for last 5 years!!

In all of the above situation very few upper mangement if any lost their positions as too valuable.??

No worker in any industry safe as long as high taxation / devious upper management caving into to government tactics to tax existing citizens to buy new industries , (quarter billion for Baxter? 100 million for Caterpillar? I thought bribes were in 3rd world? Oh Ga is now a third world environment!!!

Progress

May 24th, 2012
9:32 am

Underpaid- It’s clear why you are underpaid; you didn’t get a good enough education to earn a decent living. High level employers don’t want to hire employees who don’t think well. Exactly what did the Republican congress pass that helped things? The answer is nothing. No legislation that the House passed made it through the Senate, and Obama would have vetoed it if it did. They did nothing. They passed nothing. The recovery began before the new congress took office in 2011. The economy had been gaining jobs consistently for almost a year before that. Look at the facts. I doubt they will change your mind, but at least the facts will cause you some cognitive dissonance and you’ll have a harder time rationalizing your misconceptions.

Mark in mid-town

May 24th, 2012
9:36 am

What’s going on is that the cost advantage of doing business and living in Atlanta has increased in relative terms compared to the northeast, thus we’re starting to see an increase in migration out of those expensive places back down to Atlanta, the same as which drove much of the Atlanta growth in past boom times. There has been pent-up demand building for this, and we’re now starting to systematically see a partial return to past migration patterns down to Atanta area. That’sw good for Atlanta area, but it’s hardly the result of anything good happening economically for the country-at-large.

Progress

May 24th, 2012
9:43 am

Thomas- You list a bunch of instances that are no doubt problematic, but you don’t seem to understand that random anecdotes do not define the dynamics of the situation. All of those instances you listed are outweighed by the jobs that have been gained. The U.S. has gained jobs for 26 months in a row, more than two years straight. That’s a fact.

And you talk about “high taxation”. You don’t seem to understand that income taxes are lower now than any time since WW II. That’s a fact. The two biggest recessions since the Great Depression came during the two periods in U.S. history when we had the lowest tax rates (late 80’s/early 90’s and 2006 to now).

Times are rough, but if you don’t understand the cause of the financial crisis then you’re just going to make things worse by doing things like electing Romney and more Republicans. You’re just hurting yourself.

Progress

May 24th, 2012
9:47 am

Mark- If what you are saying is true then Atlanta would have a lower unemployment rate than the rest of the country, not a higher one. Home prices would be more stable here than the rest of the country not less stable and falling. Real estate would be selling, not sitting and being foreclosed upon at a higher rate than elsewhere. Your assertions do not seem to be supported by the facts.

Progress

May 24th, 2012
10:01 am

Carlos,

Yes, the recovery will continue to be slow in large part because the stimulus was not big enough and because of austerity measures on the part of Republicans. When 2000+ school workers are laid off because Republican politicians insist on continually reducing tax revenues, then you’re going to have fewer people spending money to keep businesses running. You’re going to have more houses foreclosed on, which will keep real estate values down and the supply of houses too high (very bad), which not only affects home sellers but destroys the construction and manufacturing industries.

What I find so amusing about Romney’s promise of 6% unemployment is that at our current rate that’s where unemployment will be if the government does absolutely NOTHING. So if President Obama continued his current policies (instead of implementing more stimulus) and the Republican congress continued obstruct everything Obama tries to do (instead of working to help the country) then unemployment will be under 6% within four years. So Romney saying he can get the unemployment rate to 6% in four years essentially means that he’s saying he can do NOTHING; he can make NO IMPROVEMENTS over our current course. It’s remarkable that with all the lies he’s been spewing that he could say that (and under his policies unemployment would be higher, not lower) and people would think his leadership would somehow benefit them. He’s a true demagogue.

Mark in mid-town

May 24th, 2012
10:16 am

In response to Progress at 9:47 AM — Comparing different states’ unemployment rates are not necessarily a reflection of which states are creating more new jobs. Let’s say an unemployed person leaves Boston to come to because Atlanta is cheaper. That both lowers the unemployment rate in Boston and raises it in Atlanta. If you examine the trend in Atlanta and the actual new job numbers, I think it’s clear that job growth and business start-ups are increasing at a pretty decent rate now, and I attribute this to increased numbers of people starting to move to Atlanta again from more expensive areas due to the relative increase in the cost advantage of living and operating a business in this area, the same as what drove past boom times in Atlanta.

Thomas

May 24th, 2012
10:23 am

Progress your calm factual based comments attempting to override other comments are amusing. One Statement you did indicate in your 10:01 rate failed to explain the cause of the Teacher custodial layoffs over spending by new management with little understanding of balanced budgets

The counties hurting have overpopulated their regimes with do nothing upper management and are paying for them with sacrficing the people who do do something. Real tax revenue can only be generated with realistic property assessments and with collapse of property values counties must learn to live within their cashflow means , unlike the Federal government which has populated itself with millions of created non revenue generating positions with no attempts to reign in spending creating a 15.6 trillion dollar debt paving the way to fiscal ruin(witness Greece) with it’s liberal entitlement destruction of its structure.

What is Obama’s” current policy besides actually achieving nothing . he promised so much to his followers and has achieved so little for everybody!!. Please elaborate on his Terms high lights due to his actions , Progress.

Bunky

May 24th, 2012
10:28 am

Hey Progress, what do you think will turn the housing situation around but job growth? It has been the engine of Atlanta’s economy for decades and it looks like in 2012 we have been slowly resuming that decades long pattern of economic growth. Now you will see improvement in the home and consumer markets follow as it has in countless earlier recessions. One of the big reasons we did not have a strong bounce back after this recession, like the ones in 1991 and 2001 also didn’t, is we don’t make anything anymore. The initial bounce comes from orders for manufacturing goods, that is largely happening overseas.

Samantha

May 24th, 2012
11:01 am

It shows that the OBAMA Administration is working. Thanks to the Republicans, we are still in a financial crisis! 8 years of them is way too many years!

Progress

May 24th, 2012
11:25 am

Mark- I don’t buy the idea that unemployed people are coming to Georgia (which has very high unemployment) from other parts of the country to look for better opportunities, thereby lowering the unemployment rate there and raising it here. Why would they possibly want to go somewhere with really high unemployment without a job when their prospects are clearly better elsewhere? That just doesn’t pass the smell test.

Thomas- You have a problem with calm, fact-based comments? Did you want hysterical unsubstantiated opinions? As an educator (former teacher and current prof) I agree with your comments on the overbloated administration in some metro counties. Yes, public school funds are generated by property tax revenues, but the more people get laid off the more foreclosure you have and the lower property values go. It’s cyclical. Like it or not, taxes will have to be raised in some fashion. I’ll pay more in taxes in order to help the country; I see it as my patriotic duty. Will you? Do you have a problem with multimillionaires paying 39% instead of 35%?

Obama passed a stimulus, but it should have been bigger. More stimulus would have kept teachers and police officers working, which would have kept money flowing to local businesses, keeping private sector employees working, and would have kept people in their homes, thereby maintaining property values. Obama saved GM, which saved hundreds of thousands if not millions of U.S. jobs when you look at the peripheral industries it would have affected. Obama killed Bin Laden, which will allow us to finally pull out of Afghanistan and will save the country literally billions. He removed banks as the middle man for student loans, again saving billions. You’re buying into the right wing hype. Don’t do it any longer.

Bunky- Okay.

Fighting Wombat

May 24th, 2012
11:48 am

Yet another misleading article!!!! People need to remember their Economics class…. These Unemployment numbers are grossly understated. I suggest the American people revisit what makes up this number and what makes up the “REAL” number.

Fighting Wombat

May 24th, 2012
11:53 am

@ Samantha…. You are foolish minion.

Truth

May 24th, 2012
12:30 pm

A bunch of armchair know-it-alls pontificating and making noise.

You have it all figured out, yet your soapbox speeches and self-perceived expertise are doing nothing to make anything better.

You resemble a bunch of clucking chickens or Charlie Browns teacher, take your pick.

Poop in one hand and put your facts in the other and see which one fills up first.

Obama

May 24th, 2012
12:35 pm

Thanks Progress…you are an official dweller of the Democratic Plantation.

Obama!

May 24th, 2012
12:44 pm

It will take Obama another 4 years to clean up all the problems created by bush—the economy is still bad because of bush giving tax cuts to rich people and starting wars. Obama needs another term to correct these problems. 4 more years!!!

Logic

May 24th, 2012
12:47 pm

I think “Progress” is merely a demcratic hack.

Progress

May 24th, 2012
1:09 pm

Wombat: You claim the numbers are grossly understated, but the very same formula is used that’s always been used, same as in 1980 or 1990, etc. It doesn’t count people who have stopped looking in 2012, nor was it counting them in 1988 or 1996. Same goes for those who are underemployed. If the “real” rate is higher now, then it was higher then as well. The measure is the same. Its value is in the sake of comparison, not whether the measure is able to capture every last unemployed person. Maybe you should take one of my statistics classes.

Truth (Pot)- meet kettle

Obama- I guess you think “Democratic Plantation” is some sort of witty phrase. Do you want to explain what it means? Does that mean I’m a slave owner or a slave? I live a pretty comfortable life and earn a good living, own two houses, etc. so it’s hard to see how I’d be a slave. I don’t control anyone against their will so it’s difficult to see how I’d be a slave owner. However, out of my own free will and sense of patriotism I’d be willing to pay more in taxes in order to help the country out. Would you?

Logic- If you truly had a strong grasp of logic you’d be able to come up with a better retort than your 12:47. What’s a “demcratic hack” by the way?

Logic

May 24th, 2012
1:37 pm

Attention Progress:

Obama did not save GM. Obama saved the United Auto Workers Union. By doing this he bought the support of union goons.

Obama did not kill Bid Laden. Navy Seal killed Bin Laden.

Obama is running from Afghanistan. Killing of Bid Laden does not help us with the Afgans.

He removed banks as the middle man for student loans, again saving billions? What planet are you living on?

Don’t buy into the Democratic talking points.

Mark in mid-town

May 24th, 2012
1:44 pm

Progress, the unemployment rate is calculated the same as the past. That being said, it missies the point completely. The most important thing to compare is not the unemployment rate, but the work-force participation rate. The only reason the unemployment rate isn’t over 11% is that the workforce participation rate has greatly dropped. And the reason the workforce participation rate has dropped so much is because the jobs picture is horrible, far more so than an 8.1% unemployment rate would seem to indicate. We are in the range of 7 million fewer jobs than what was predicted at this time by the Obama Administration if their stimulus was passed. In other words, not only did the Obama Administration predict a much lower unemployment rate at this juncture if their stimulus was passed, the much lower unemployment rate they predicted was also under a much higher workforce participation rate.

Infinite

May 24th, 2012
1:49 pm

all the growth has happened in spite of what they did, not because of it.
If all the growth happened in spite of what they did, then that same logic also dictates that “all of the downfall happened in spite of what they did”.

The truth of the matter is that no one could have prevented unemployment from reaching 10%. That’s why I have respect for all of the 2008 candidates (from all parties). Everyone knew things were going to get much worse before they got better, and every candidate then surely knew that there was a good possibility that they would be a one term president. Now, everyone wants to come out of the woodworks to run when things are moderately improving. Where were they in 2008 when the challenges were ahead instead of behind? The 2008 candidates had balls…even Hillary. haha

really have you talked to all those that lost their benefits and are under employed and not employed at all, or never were counted in the first place.
These people are never counted in the unemployment rate, whether it’s 10% or 4%. If you want to say the unemployment rate is really higher because of the discouraged, then you must also say that unemployment all the way back to its inception in the 1940’s has always been higher. The elderly, college, military, etc will never be counted among the unemployed. The unemployment metric only applies to those who are a legitimate part of the available workforce. If you are not available to work (i.e. elderly, college, military) then you will not be counted, and justifiably so.

Sammy J.

May 24th, 2012
1:50 pm

Mark in mid-town,

You wasting your time talking to Progress. He is simply following the Whitehouse talking points. He is unable to use logic.

A real democratic hack ...

May 24th, 2012
1:53 pm

Even I am offender by Progress lack of reasoning. He makes Al Sharpon look like a genius.

bill

May 24th, 2012
2:32 pm

here you go logic: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/feb/27/mitt-romney/mitt-romney-says-obama-gave-away-car-companies-uni/

Also you righties got to come up with a new demon when only 7 percent of all workers are union.

Forward

May 24th, 2012
3:06 pm

Forward Soviet!

Progress

May 24th, 2012
5:25 pm

@ a real hack: You said “Even I am offender”. What type of offender are you? A first time offender? A child offender? I guess the AJC should turn over your IP address to the authorities. Then you go on and try to make judgments about intelligence. A strong measure of intelligence is how well someone articulates his thoughts in writing. Based on that measure you’re not doing so well. So what are your qualifications for being able to make that sort of judgment? Are you a psychologist? Educator? Harvard grad? I can’t wait to hear this.

Progress

May 24th, 2012
5:31 pm

Mark swings and misses again. Once again, the measures are the same now as they’ve always been whether you want to look at the 80’s, 90’s, or the last decade. Your argument doesn’t hold water (again). And yes, the nation has fewer jobs than were predicted, not only by this administration, but by EVERYONE. That’s because the recession was far worse than anyone predicted, worse than was predicted by the Bush administration or by high level economists of any political persuasion. The Obama administration did a very good job of making sure we didn’t slide into a depression, and the only reason we’re not better off now is because the other side of the aisle obstructed him from making the stimulus bigger, which it needed to be.

Progress

May 24th, 2012
5:38 pm

Logic: You wrote “Obama did not kill Bid Laden. Navy Seal killed Bin Laden.” Aside from the poor grammar, by this “logic” it wasn’t Bush who started the war in Iraq; it was the marine corporals who first stormed into Iraq who are responsible for the war, not Bush. I really hope you’re an 11-year-old kid because I refuse to believe an American adult is that idiotic. I would easily refute the rest of your silly points, but that one statement made it apparent you don’t have the intellect to deal with reality.

Progress

May 24th, 2012
5:44 pm

It is my advice to the right wingers here that you own up to some personal responsibility. It was your votes for GW, or votes from your ilk, that led to the economic policies that put us in this recession. You are to blame for you own sorry situation. Stop whining and blaming the current president who is still trying to clean up your mess. That’s right, I said YOUR mess. Republicans talk a lot about personal responsibility, but they’re the last ones to practice it. Get yourselves a better education. Get your acts together and get yourselves better jobs. But as long as you keep voting Republican you can expect to be one paycheck away from the trailer park, which may be where you belong. Whiners. Do something for yourselves.

destin dawg

May 24th, 2012
6:39 pm

Progress must be unemployed… on here ALL DAY !!

Progressive/Democrat

May 24th, 2012
6:43 pm

I’ve been on unemployment all year… don’t want to work.. soon to get on disability….for life I hope.. plenty of time to ” Occupy ” vote Obama 2012

Mark in mid-town

May 24th, 2012
10:56 pm

Progress — let’s see it’s true that the recession was far worse than anyone predicted. That means the recovery should have been far greater than Obama Administration predicted since historically speaking, the more severe the recession the stronger the recovery. That was the excuse the Democrats used in the 1980s to explain away the very strong recovery under Reagan. Back then the Democrats attributed the remarkable recovery to be nothing more than the normal bounce-back from a very severe recession. Whereas now, the excuse given by the Democrats for the remarkably weak recovery is that the recession was so severe.

Progress

May 24th, 2012
11:30 pm

Mark- This recession is on a far larger scale than the one in the late 70’s. Surely you don’t think the dynamics are the same. So the bounce back should be greater because the recession was more severe? Is this what happened in Europe, a substantial bounce back, and now they’re chugging along again, rolling in the money? No, most of Europe is either in a double dip recession or about to go into a double dip recession. And why are they? Because most of the countries chose to implement an austerity strategy, which is exactly what the Republicans would have had us do.

Our recovery is not at all weak considering the magnitude of the hole we were in. It is actually much stronger than Europe’s or Japan’s. And we would have had a more striking recovery if the Republicans would have gotten on board with a larger stimulus.

So Republicans were responsible for the recession in the first place, and they’ve done everything in their power to see that a recovery did not take place. Americans are going to be in a world of hurt in the unlikely event that Republicans take control again in 2012. Own up to your mistakes for once and take a different course.

Progress

May 24th, 2012
11:36 pm

Destin Dawg,

You could use some help with your reading comprehension. If you go back and read carefully you’ll see from my posts it was pretty clear not only that I make a comfortable living, but also what I do for a living (which should also make it clear why I am in control of my own time).

And I must say that I wish you would change your screen name. You are an embarrassment to one of my alma maters. Let me guess- You were a drunk frat boy in Athens for a few years, committed a couple of date rapes, and then took your 1.6 GPA to a used car dealership in Florida. Please stop sullying the name of a fine institution.

ADD

May 25th, 2012
11:45 am

I laugh out loud when I see comments such as “Let’s say an unemployed person leaves Boston to come to because Atlanta is cheaper. That both lowers the unemployment rate in Boston and raises it in Atlanta.”. As if the unemployed are flooding into a state with a higher unemployment rate than where they currently live. Unemployment benefits are FAR more generous in most states other than GA, and last longer than they do here. Until someone can prove that there is any type of influx of unemployed people coming here from other places, I don’t buy into that theory in the least.

ADD

May 25th, 2012
11:51 am

@ Progress: you are on target with virtually every comment you have made (IMHO at least). But don’t lower yourself to the base level of some folks by responding to some peoples personal attacks…it’s just not worth it. You’re probably correct in your assessments, but don’t bother with the negative energy.

Mark in mid-town

May 25th, 2012
12:00 pm

Progress, the recession Obama inherited is not much more severe than what took place in the early 1980s which was a double-dip recession with the cumulative impact comparable in severity to what Obama was dealt. What is drastically different is the strength of the recovery since the recession officially ended in 2009 compared to the recovery that happened beginning in 1983 after Reagan’s policies were implemented. Let’s not forget that both Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush both claimed when running aginst Reagan in 1980 that Reagan’s proposals would lead to 30% inflation. Obama is running for re-election with the advantage of having even more time than Reagan did for the recovery to take hold, yet the Obama recovery is still anemic and among the worst on record by most measures, whereas the recovery under Reagan led to his defeating Mondale in 1984 by about the largest landslide on record.

bush

May 25th, 2012
12:19 pm

bush and his corrupt staff caused all these economic problems with tax cuts for the rich and handouts to his friends in big oil. Obama needs a lot more time to clean up all this fraud.

A. S. Mathew

May 26th, 2012
8:52 am

These employment datas are not realistic at all.

conservative

May 26th, 2012
3:13 pm

look at California… Democrats.. high taxes.. complicated regulations.. Unions.. huge gov’t debt.. companies leaving.. jobs and tax revenues lost !!! then take Texas.. republicans.. low taxes.. right to work State.. small gov’t.. low debt.. new business start ups.. jobs and tax revenues up.. Get It !!!