The Georgia Department of Labor announced this week that the state unemployment rate for April decreased to 5%, down one-tenth of a percentage point from 5.1 percent in March. In the same period in 2016, the unemployment rate was 5.4 percent.
“Our rate declined in April as we saw more people become employed, the labor force continued to grow and our employers reduced the number of new layoffs,” said State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler in a press release. “New claims for unemployment insurance, a measure of new layoffs, dropped to the lowest level we’ve seen in nearly 19 years.”
There were 15,179 more Georgians employed in April than in March, pushing the total number to another record of 4,778,503. There were 156,700 more people employed in April than a year ago in April 2016.
Meanwhile, the labor force, which consists of employed residents and those who are unemployed and actively looking for jobs, grew by 10,545 to 5,031,142. That total represents an increase of 145,983 over the past 12 months.
The number of initial claims for unemployment insurance declined by 3,386, or 13.5 percent, to 21,633, its lowest point since May 1998. Most of the decrease came in manufacturing and administrative and support services. Over the year, claims were down by 4,712, or 17.9 percent, from 26,345 in April 2016, with manufacturing and administrative and support services again contributing to the decline.
Even as there were more employed Georgians, the state lost 2,800 jobs in April, dropping to a total of 4,466,700. Job losses came in construction, 3,000; trade, transportation and warehousing, 2,600; leisure and hospitality, 2,400; professional and business services, 1,200; and education and health services, 600. The job losses were offset somewhat by gains in manufacturing, 2,200; information services, 1,800; other services, including repair and maintenance, 1,600; and government, 1,300.
“Georgia continues to be a national leader in over-the-year job growth, as our employers added 113,600 jobs since April of last year,” Butler continued. “That represents a growth rate of 2.6 percent, which is a full percentage point higher than the national rate of 1.6 percent. And, we saw growth in every job sector.”
Job gains included: professional and business services, 28,900; leisure and hospitality, 19,500; trade, transportation and warehousing, 17,000; education and health services, 14,900; financial activities, 9,900; government, 9,100; construction, 6,600; information services, 3,800; manufacturing, 2,400; and other services, 700.
Employ Georgia, the GDOL’s online job listing service at Employgeorgia.com, showed 75,183 new job postings statewide for April.