Ga. unemployment rises to 7.2 percent
Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler explains the May unemployment data.
ATLANTA — Georgia’s unemployment rate in May was up from April. State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler says that’s been a typical occurrence in May for 15 years.
The revised unemployment rate for the state in May was 7.2 percent. That higher than April’s revised 6.9 percent, but an improvement over Georgia’s jobless rate of 8.4 percent in May 2013.
“This is a seasonal rate increase that is typical for May,” Butler said. “In fact, we haven’t had a rate decrease in May since 1999. This time of year, we have new job-seekers coming into the labor force, led primarily by college graduates looking for full-time work and students searching for summer jobs.”
The state’s labor force increased by 14,078 up to 4,780,952 in May from 4,766,874 in April. This was the fifth consecutive month the labor force has increased, Labor officials said.
“Employers added 21,400 jobs in May, contributing to the 80,200 jobs we have created over the past year,” Butler said. “We are proud that Georgia continues to be a leader in over-the-year growth. During the past 12 months, Georgia has ranked fifth or sixth in over-the-year job creation in the nation.”
The number of jobs in the state increased to 4,125,100 in May from April’s 4,103,700, but that half-percentage point improvement didn’t keep pace with the demand for jobs. Still, the 21,400 additional jobs beat the 13,000 increase average from April to May that Georgia had experienced the last three years.
Butler’s office said most of the job gains came from professional and business services, 10,400; leisure and hospitality, 6,400; trade, transportation, and warehousing, 3,880; financial services, 1,800, and construction, 1,400.
Government jobs were cut by 1,900 from April to May.
The number of jobs compared to May 2013, when Georgia had 4,044,900, had the biggest rate of growth — 2 percent — since 2006, Butler said. Year-to-year winners in professional and business services, 27,300; trade, transportation, and warehousing, 20,800; leisure and hospitality, 18,700; construction, 6,600; education and health services, 6,200; manufacturing, 4,300, and financial services, 3,600.
Government, meanwhile, trimmed 7,700 jobs over the past year.
Of the state’s 14 metro areas, Albany was one of three that saw a net jobs loss from May 2013 to this year. Last month, metro Albany had 60,800 jobs, down 100, or 0.2 percent, from May 2013’s 60,900.
By category, Albany saw April-to-May job losses in trade, transportation and utilities, down 1.6 percent; state government, down 3.2 percent, and service-providing, down 0.2 percent. The only area of gain was retail trade, which was up 1.4 percent.
Year-to-year in May, jobs also were down by a net of 100, or 0.2 percent. Since May 2013, losses have come in goods producing, dropping to 6,800 from 7,000, down 2.9 percent, and government, which fell from 14,000 to 13,700, a drop of 2.1 percent overall. The breakdown on losses in government jobs was 1.3 percent less local (from 7,900 to 7,800), 3.2 percent down in state (from 3,100 to 3,000) and 3.3 percent lower in federal (from 3,000 to 2,900).
On the positive side of the ledger, total private jobs in May were up by 0.4 perecent year-to-year. The biggest gain was in trade, transportation and utilities, which rose 5.1 percent, from 11,700 in May 2013 to 12,300 last month. Retail trade was up 5.7 percent, going from 7,300 to 7,400. Private service providing was up 1 percent, 40,300 from last year’s 39,900, and service-providing was up 0.2 percent, reaching 54,000 from 53,900.
The metro area with the biggest jobs gain was Atlanta, which saw a 2.5 percent increase year-to-year. Atlanta had 2,465,200 jobs last month, 59,400 more than the 2,405,800 that the metro area had in May 2013.
Gainesville, which added 2,000 jobs year to year to reach 79,400 in May had the largest percentage increase at 2.6 percent. The biggest year-to-year jobs loss was in Warner Robins, which saw its jobs shrink by 2.5 percent, from 60,200 last year to 58,700 last month.
There were 33,191 new unemployment claims in May, down 1.1 percent from April’s 33,561, with most of the decrease coming in manufacturing. Year-to-year, the claims were down 29.2 percent from May 2013’s 46,882. Most of the decline over the year came in manufacturing, 4,890; accommodations and food services, 1,691; administrative and support services, 1,073, and construction, 917.
Thirteen of the state’s metro areas — including Albany — saw year-to-year drops in initial unemployment claims last month. In Albany, there were 746 filings, a 49.6 percent decrease from the 1,479 that were filed in May 2013. That was the biggest change percentage among Georgia’s metro areas and the net change of 711 fewer claims was second only to Atlanta, which saw 6,096 fewer claims than it did last year.
Columbus was the lone metro area to have a net year-to-year increase in 61 claims, 899 last month compared to 838 in May 2013. That was a 7.3 percent increase.