The Georgia Department of Labor announced Thursday that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined to 8.7 percent in October, down from 9 percent in September. The jobless rate was 9.7 percent in October 2011.
“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 news release. “That job growth pushed the number of jobs in October to the highest level in any month since December of 2008.”
Statewide, there were 3,971,700 jobs in October, up 0.9 percent, from 3,935,700 in 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.
“While manufacturing gained 700 jobs during the month, it’s more important to note that the industry has gained 10,500 jobs in the last year,” Butler added.
Georgia gained 68,000 jobs, or 1.7 percent, from 3,903,700 in October 2011. Additional growth sectors over the year include professional and business services, up 25,500; retail trade, up 14,000; education and health care, up 13,000; food services and drinking establishments, up 9,400; and technology, up 3,600.
Georgia’s labor force continued to increase, climbing to 4,793,540 in October, up by 17,438, or 0.4 percent, from 4,776,102 in September. The state’s workforce totaled 4,734,487 in October 2011.
“Our labor force has grown consistently over the past year, indicating that Georgians are more optimistic about finding a job, and fortunately, we’ve had the job growth necessary to put these people to work,” Butler said.
Fueling the increase in the labor force was the Atlanta Metropolitan Statistical Area, of which Paulding County is a part. The Atlanta MSA saw 33,700 more jobs in October versus the same month the previous year. The jump from 2,319,800 to 2,353,500 represented a 1.5-percent increase.
Other counties in the Atlanta MSA are Barrow, Bartow, Butts, Carroll, Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, Dawson, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Haralson, Heard, Henry, Jasper, Lamar, Meriwether, Newton, Pickens, Pike, Rockdale, Spalding and Walton.
The number of initial unemployment claims rose 11,931 to 51,495 in October; however, the number of claims is down by 4,370, or 7.8 percent, from 55,865 in October 2011. Most of the October increase came in manufacturing, trade, administrative and support services, and construction.
The Atlanta MSA saw its initial claims drop from 24,090 in October 2011 to 22,477 last month, a decrease of 6.7 percent.
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, the lowest percent in slightly more than two years.