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State jobless rate slips below 10 percent

POSTED: May 19, 2011 6:34 p.m.

State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said Thursday that Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined to 9.9 percent in April, down one-tenth of a percentage point, from a revised 10.0 percent in March. The state’s jobless rate was 10.1 percent in April a year ago.

“Not only is this the first time in nearly two years that Georgia’s unemployment rate has dipped into the single digits, but this is also the third consecutive month of job growth,” Butler said. “This developing trend shows increasing confidence in the economy.” The last time the state’s rate was below 10 percent was in June 2009, when it was 9.8 percent.

And, there were job increases over both the month and year. There were 3,834,100 payroll jobs in April, up 30,100, or eight-tenths of a percentage point, from 3,804,000 in March. Most of the new jobs were added in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, trade, educational and health services, and construction. Also, there was an increase of 2,200 jobs, or one-tenth of a percentage point, from 3,831,900 in April a year ago.

The number of long-term unemployed workers continues to decline. There were 254,800 long-term unemployed Georgians in April, down 6,700, or 2.6 percent, from 261,500 in March. However, the number of long-term unemployed remains 18.4 percent higher than the 215,100 in April of last year. The long-term unemployed account for 55.1 percent of Georgia’s 462,370 jobless workers.

Also, 54,337 laid-off workers filed initial claims for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits in April, an increase of 4,006, or 8.0 percent, from 50,331 in March. Most of the first-time claims were filed in manufacturing, administrative and support services, trade, and construction. But, there was an over-the-year decrease of 6,324 initial claims, or 10.4 percent, from 60,661 filed in April of last year.

April marked the 43rd consecutive month Georgia has exceeded the national unemployment rate, which is currently 9.0 percent.

But, the last time the Georgia rate dropped over the month, while the U.S. rate increased was April of last year. At that time, the state rate declined one-tenth of a percentage point to 10.1 percent, while the national rate rose one-tenth percent to 9.8 percent.

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