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State jobless rate dips to lowest in last three years

POSTED: April 23, 2012 9:31 p.m.

ATLANTA—State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler has announced that Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined in March for the eighth consecutive month to 9 percent, the lowest rate since February 2009, when it was 8.9 percent. That is a decline of one-tenth of a percentage point from a revised 9.1 percent in February. The jobless rate was 9.8 percent in March a year ago.

"Georgia’s unemployment rate continues to trend downward," Commissioner Butler said, "and it’s important to recognize that it’s done so as the number of people in the labor force steadily increased. This indicates a growing optimism among unemployed workers that they will be able to land a job. In fact, Georgia employers have created 35,600 jobs in the past year."

The number of jobs in Georgia from February to March increased 13,900 to 3,894,900. The employment sectors showing growth since March of 2011 were: professional and business services, 28,900; trade and transportation, 10,700; education and health services, 7,900; manufacturing, 5,900; and leisure and hospitality, 1,200.

"I’m also encouraged that the number of new layoffs continues to decline, reaching the lowest level since March four years ago," Commissioner Butler continued.

The number of first-time claims for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits declined to 42,676, down 3,650, or 7.9 percent, from 46,326 in February. Most of the decrease came in manufacturing, trade, construction, and administrative and support services. Initial claims were also down by 7,655, or 15.2 percent, from 50,331 in March of last year.

The number of long-term unemployed workers decreased by 2,500, or 1 percent, to 239,200 from February to March. This is the fewest number of long-term unemployed since 236,600 in September 2010. The long-term unemployed make up 56 percent of all jobless workers in Georgia.

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