The state of Georgia had a banner year in 2019, according to State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler, who reported Thursday the state saw a big boost in jobs, workforce and employed residents in the last year.
Butler said in his monthly report for December the year-end numbers in all three categories were record highs. At the same time, the December unemployment rate was another record low.
"Georgia closed out 2019 on a very high note," Butler said. "We set records right across the board on all the major indicators. It’s kind of hard to have any better year than Georgia had."
The unemployment rate settled at 3.2 percent as 2019 came to a close. That’s down from 3.7 percent a year ago. Georgia has now set a new record low two months in a row after first tying the old record in October.
Georgia ended 2019 setting a record for total number of jobs at 4.65 million. The state added just under 70,000 over the past 12 months, including about 4,000 in December.
"Georgia’s done a great job bringing in new business and helping our local businesses around the state grow jobs," Butler said.
Some job sectors were particularly strong in 2019, according to Butler. The state added more than 10,000 jobs in three sectors:
- Education, health services – 25,400
- Leisure, hospitality – 16,600
- Trade, transportation, utilities – 10,400.
With jobs up, employment also climbed for the month and year.
Georgia ended 2019 with a record-high 4.97 million employed residents, an increase of nearly 47,000 over the past 12 months. The number also climbed by more than 12,000 in December.
Butler said Georgia’s labor force continued to grow but struggled to keep pace with job creation and employment numbers.
"We do need our labor force to expand at a faster pace," Butler said. “Right now, we are growing jobs three times as fast.”
The labor force grew by just under 18,000 over the past 12 months to reach 5.13 million – a new record high. That includes adding 7,832 in December.
For the year, unemployment insurance claims also went down. There were 291,962 unemployment claims filed in 2019 – down 6 percent from the number filed in 2018. For the month of December, however, claims rose about 78 percent.
Employ Georgia, the GDOL's online job listing service at employgeorgia.com showed 97,892 new active job postings in Georgia at year’s end. That’s nearly 20,000 more than a year ago.