The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) announced Thursday morning that the state’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate decreased for the fourth consecutive month to 4.9 percent in May, the first time in nearly a decade the unemployment rate has been that low. The May number is down one-tenth of a percentage point from 5 percent in April.
The last time the state recorded a jobless rate as low as 4.9 percent was in October 2007. In May 2016, the rate was 5.3 percent.
“Georgia saw its unemployment rate dip below 5 percent for the first time in nearly 10 years, as more individuals gained jobs,” said State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. “It’s a testament to the attractiveness of Georgia’s job market when we continue to see more and more individuals enter and re-enter the job market and find employment.”
There were 9,685 more Georgians employed in May than in April, pushing the total number to another record of 4,788,627. The increase in the number of employed Georgians in May grew by 155,960 from May 2016.
From April to May, the labor force, which consists of employed residents and those who are unemployed and actively looking for jobs, increased by 3,664 to a record 5,034,975. As the number of employed residents rose, the number of jobless residents declined by 6,021 to 246,348. There were 14,239 fewer unemployed residents than in May 2016.
Meanwhile, the number of jobs in Georgia decreased by 3,800, or 0.1 percent, to 4,465,300. The losses were primarily seasonal jobs in professional and business services, 4,400, and leisure and hospitality, 2,200. Additional reductions came in manufacturing, 2,000; and other services such as repair, maintenance, laundry and personal services, 1,800; and information services, 1,000. The job losses were somewhat offset by growth in trade, transportation and warehousing, 3,400; government, 2,400; construction, 1,400; financial activities, 300; and education and health services, 100.
Over-the-year, Georgia gained a total of 103,100 jobs, a 2.4 percent growth rate, up from 4,362,200 in May 2016. The federal job growth rate was 1.6 percent. Georgia’s job growth came in the following employment sectors: professional and business services, 23,100; trade, transportation and warehousing, 19,800; leisure and hospitality, 15,400; education and health services, 13,100; financial activities, 9,900; government, 9,700; construction, 7,400; information services, 3,100; and manufacturing, 1,600. Other services lost 900 jobs.
The number of initial claims for unemployment insurance, a measure of new layoffs, increased by 3,234, or 14.9 percent, to 24,867. Most of the increase came in wholesale and retail trade, health care and social assistance, accommodations and food services, finance and insurance and professional, scientific and technical services. Over the year, claims were down by 5,458, or 18 percent, from 30,325 in May 2016.
Employ Georgia, the GDOL’s online job listing service at employgeorgia.com, showed 70,120 new job postings statewide for May.