Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said Thursday that Georgia's unemployment rate held steady at 7 percent from March to April. It's a significant improvement from April 2013's 8.3 percent joblessness. (Special photo)
Labor Commissioner: Georgia unemployment rate static in April
Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler discusses Georgia's unemployment rate from April, which remains at the same 7 percent level as in March. Year-to-year, the state jobless rate is down significantly from April 2013's 8.3 percent.
ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Labor announced today that Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for April was 7 percent, unchanged from March. The rate was a significant improvement over April 2013 when it was 8.3 percent.
“We had very strong job growth in April, as our employers created 41,300 new jobs, which is the largest March to April increase since 2005,” State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said. “And, to make things even better, more jobseekers are entering the labor force and getting hired. This is a stark contrast to what we’re seeing nationally with hundreds of thousands of people leaving the labor force.”
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The U.S. Department of Labor announced last week that 806,000 people left the nation’s work force in April.
There are indications, however, that metro Albany — Dougherty, Lee, Baker, Worth and Terrell counties — and the Southwest Georgia Region that includes metro Albany along with Calhoun, Colquitt, Decatur, Early, Grady, Miller, Mitchell, Seminole and Thomas counties is continuing the lag behind the rest of the state.
According to data released by the Labor Department this morning, Albany was the only metro statistical area among the state’s 14 MSA’s to post an increase in initial unemployment claims year-over-year. Albany had 1,343 claims in April, up 36.5 percent from the 984 initial claims that were filed in 2013. Decreases in the state’s other metro areas ranged from a 6.8 percent year-to-year drop in Columbus to a 60.8 percent reduction in claims year-to-year in Gainesville.
Statewide, the 33,561 initial jobless claims filed last month were a 21.3 percent reduction from the 42,644 claims filed in April 2013. Most of the decline over the year came in trade, transportation, and warehousing, 1,972; administrative and support services, 1,506; accommodations and food services, 1,323; construction, 703, and health care and social assistance, 589.
The new claims filed in April were an increase of 2,747, or 8.9 percent, from 30,814 filed in March. Most of the increase came in administrative and support services, 1,373, and manufacturing, 814.
The number of jobs in Georgia rose to just over 4.1 million in April, up a percentage point from the 4.07 million jobs the state had in March. Butler’s office said most of the job gains came in leisure and hospitality, 16,700; professional and business services, 10,900; trade, transportation and warehousing, 5,600; construction, 2,600; government, 2,200, and education and health services, 2,000. Manufacturing lost 400 jobs, largely because of temporary layoffs in poultry processing in Southwest Georgia.
Year-to-year, the number of jobs in April increased by 75,700, or 1.9 percent, from 4.03 million in April 2013. The big job gainers were professional and business services, 22,300; trade, transportation and warehousing, 20,200; leisure and hospitality, 18,500; construction, 9,600; education and health services, 6,500; manufacturing, 5,400; financial services, 2,200; and other services, 1,200. Government, however, trimmed 10,200 jobs.
Albany’s job growth from April 2013 to last month was 200 positions, a 0.3 percent increase. There were 60,900 jobs in the metro area in April, compared to 60,700 a year ago. Three metro areas saw a drop in jobs — Augusta was down 300, a 0.1 percent decrease; Brunswick trimmed 1,100, a 2.7 percent drop, and Warner Robins had the most losses at 1,800, a 3 percent drop in jobs.
Gainesville had the biggest increase percentage-wise at 2.1 percent, an increase of 1,600 jobs, but most of Georgia’s new employment opportunities came in the Atlanta, which gained 47,600 jobs from April 2013 to last month. More than half of the state’s jobs — more than 2.44 million — are in the Atlanta MSA.
Georgia’s labor force increased from March to April by 11,216 to 4,767,879, the fourth consecutive month the labor force has increased.
April long-term unemployment was down year-to-year, though the number of people who have been out of work for 27 weeks or longer was a higher percentage of the state’s total unemployment roll. With 150,400 individuals in the long-term unemployed category in April, it was a 15 percent drop from the 177,100 people who had been long-term unemployed in April 2013. The number also was down 1.4 percent from March.
As a percentage of total unemployment, those who were long-term unemployed comprised 45.3 percent in April, down 0.4 percent from March. In April 2013, 44.4 percent of those who were jobless were classified as long-term unemployed. The highest number of long-term jobless for the 13-month period was 181,200 in June, with the highest percentage of total unemployed coming in December at 46.4 percent.