Georgia labor market sets records in August

Published 6:47 pm Friday, September 21, 2018

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler, said Thursday that Georgia’s unemployment rate for August dipped below the national number for the first time in 11 years.

According to a press release from the Georgia Department of Labor, the rate, at 3.8 percent, is approaching the state’s record low of 3.4 percent, set in 2000. At 3.8 percent, it is down 0.1 percent from July. By comparison, the national rate is 3.9 percent. Last August’s statewide rate was 4.5 percent.  At the same time, Georgia set records for jobs and employed residents. Unemployment claims also fell in August.

“This is a true milestone for us,” Butler said. “As a state that’s seen its workforce expand very quickly, it should be hard for us to drive the unemployment rate down so low. However, we have been employing new workers as fast as we have been adding them. These numbers show how dynamic our economy has been and continues to be.”

Georgia also continues to approach another milestone:  the 5-million mark for employed residents. 

In August, Georgia hit a record high of 4.96 million employed residents. That number was up by more than 6,400 over the month and by nearly 115,000 over the year. Likewise, Georgia’s labor force fell slightly, decreasing by less than 400 in August to about 5.16 million. It has grown by about 82,000 over the last 12 months.

Jobs were also up by 12,000 in August to over 4.5 million, an all-time high. Over the past 12 months, Georgia added nearly 90,000 jobs. Butler said all of these numbers continue trends going back to the first of the year.

Most of the monthly job gains came in the education and health services, government and construction. Over the past year, Georgia has added more than 10,000 jobs in trade, transportation and utilities, education and health services, construction, professional and business services, and leisure and hospitality. Construction in particular is continuing to have a very strong year, seeing growth of 10 percent over the year.   

“When you see that big of a jump in construction jobs over the year, that points to a strong economy,” Butler said.

According to the press release, there were 21,182 unemployment claims filed in August, the fewest filed in over 20 years. Claims were down about 28 percent and remain down by 11 percent over the last year. There were 75,686 jobs posted on during August. Of those jobs, 36 percent were for STEM occupations.