Georgia’s unemployment rate fell to 9 percent in September from 9.2 percent in August as fewer employers laid off workers.
“The unemployment rate dropped in September because Georgia had the fewest new claims for unemployment insurance benefits in five years, since before the start of the Great Recession,” state Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said in a statement.
The number of initial claims in September declined to 39,564, down 6,161 from August and the fewest since September 2007. Most of the decline came in administrative and support services, retail trade, health care and social assistance, educational services, and accommodations and food services.
The state did lose 400 jobs from August to September. But it has gained 61,800 jobs since September 2011, when the unemployment rate was 9.8 percent.
Over the past year, the growth sectors were professional and business services — up 23,500; trade, transportation and warehousing — up 23,100; education and health care — up 13,000; leisure and hospitality — up 9,100; manufacturing — up 8,700; and technology — up 1,100.
Butler highlighted the improvement in the state’s manufacturing industry in his statement.
“Last month’s gain in manufacturing jobs was the largest over-the-month gain that we’ve seen for this time period since 1994,” he said. The number of manufacturing jobs from August to September grew by 1,900.
Another positive sign was the growth in Georgia’s labor force. It rose by 18,126 from August to total 4,777,977 in September.
The number of long-term unemployed workers — those jobless for at least 27 weeks — declined for the fifth consecutive month. It dropped 8,400 from August to total 208,800 in September — the fewest since March 2010. While still a major problem, the long-term unemployed now make up 48.6 percent of those out of work in Georgia — the lowest percentage in two years.
The state’s jobless rate remains considerably above the national rate, currently 7.8 percent.