ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia's unemployment rate fell to an all-time low of 3.2% in September, the 17th month in a row that the state's jobless rate has fallen.
The unemployment rate had been 3.5% in August, and has fallen by more than half from 6.5% in September 2020. Georgia briefly touched an all-time high jobless rate of 12.5% at the start of the pandemic in April 2020.
The state's previous all-time low unemployment rate was 3.3% in January 2020.
The number of unemployed Georgians fell to about 168,000 in September, as more people found jobs. The labor force, which has been stagnant in recent months, dipped slightly in September.
Employer payrolls — the top labor market measure for many economists — rose slightly from August, reaching 4.58 million. That's 195,000 above payroll levels last year.
Payrolls still remain 1.9% below their pre-pandemic peak. According to a separate survey, the number of Georgia workers who reported having jobs rose back above 5 million in September, within 0.5% of the all-time peak. The payroll and household surveys are taken separately and sometimes give different results. The household survey includes all people who worked, including those who are self-employed or are away from jobs temporarily.
Republican Gov. Brian Kemp has argued that his policy of placing few virus-related restrictions on businesses has contributed to the state’s rapid recovery. Some Democrats say Kemp doesn’t give enough credit to the extra money the federal government has pumped into the economy.
Nonfarm payroll employment grew by 194,000 nationwide in September, slower growth than many had expected. The nationwide jobless rate fell to 4.8% in September from 5.2% in August.
The Georgia Department of Labor released the job figures Thursday. They were adjusted to cancel out seasonal changes.
About 8,000 Georgia workers filed for new unemployment benefits in the week ended Oct. 16. New unemployment filings have fallen to pre-pandemic levels in the state.
The overall number of people collecting regular state unemployment was about 111,000 in the week ended Oct. 9. That number remains far higher than was normal before the pandemic.
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