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State jobless rate falls to 7.4 percent

POSTED: January 23, 2014 8:31 p.m.

The Georgia Department of Labor announced Thursday that Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased to 7.4 percent in December, down two-tenths of a percentage point from a revised 7.6 percent in November. The rate was 8.7 percent in December a year ago.
“The rate dropped primarily because 4,020 more Georgians were employed in December, mostly due to seasonal hiring in retail trade, transportation and warehousing,” said State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler.  “And, I’m particularly pleased that we had some 90,000 more jobs this December than last, which is the best December job growth in eight years.” 
Georgia had 4,094,100 jobs in December, an increase of 90,100 jobs, or 2.3 percent, since December 2012 when there were 4,004,000 jobs. Most of the gains came in professional and business services, 25,100; trade and transportation, 22,100; leisure and hospitality, 18,500; education and health services, 15,300; and construction, 9,900. Government has lost 5,100 jobs in the past year. 
While the over-the-year job gains were strong, the state lost 4,800 jobs between November and December, which is significantly fewer than the average 7,400 November to December losses for the past five years.
The number of new layoffs, represented by initial claims for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, increased to 65,889, up by 32,108, or 95 percent, from 33,781 in November. Much of the increase was due to temporary claims filed in manufacturing, with additional mostly seasonal claims in construction, administrative and support services, accommodations and food services, and trade and transportation. There were 50,861 claims in December 2012.
The overall number of unemployed Georgians decreased to 349,946, down by 12,185 from November. This is the fewest unemployed Georgians since October 2008 when there were 346,852. There were 421,769 unemployed residents in December 2012.


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