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Strong job creation, partly fueled by holiday hiring, pushed down Georgia’s unemployment rate to 8.7 percent in October from 9 percent in September.
“The unemployment rate dropped because we had an increase of 36,000 new jobs, which is the largest September to October job increase ever,” state Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said in a statement. “That job growth pushed the number of jobs in October to the highest level in any month since December of 2008.”
There were 3,971,700 jobs in October, up 0.9 percent from September.
The growth came in retail trade, up 8,000; education and health care, up 7,000; professional and business services, up 6,000; state and local public schools, up 5,000; leisure and hospitality, up 3,000; technology, up 2,400; construction, up 1,700; financial services, up 900; and manufacturing, up 700.
The jobless rate has dropped from 9.7 percent a year ago. But it still remains considerably higher than the national rate, currently 7.9 percent.
Georgia gained 68,000 jobs, or 1.7 percent, from October 2011. And the state’s total labor force, including those looking for work, climbed to 4,793,540 in October, up 0.4 percent from September.
“Our labor force has grown consistently over the past year, indicating that Georgians are more optimistic about finding a job,” Butler said.
On the negative side, the number of initial claims for unemployment benefits rose by 11,931 in October. But the number of claims is down by 4,370 from October 2011. Most of the October increase came in manufacturing, trade, administrative and support services, and construction.
The number of long-term unemployed workers declined for the sixth consecutive month, dropping 2,100 from September to 206,700 in October. The long-term unemployed—those out of work for more than 26 weeks—make up 49.4 percent of those unemployed in Georgia. That’s the lowest percentage in slightly more than two years, although still very high.