You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks


Welcome to

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on

Georgia’s jobless rate falls to 5.1 percent

Georgia’s unemployment rate dropped in March to its lowest rate since December 2007, the state labor department said Thursday.

The rate slipped to 5.1 percent, down from 5.3 percent in February and from 5.5 percent a year ago. Steady job creation has continued to trim the unemployment rate despite the flow of Georgians into the labor force, as most are being snapped up by employers.

The state added 9,500 jobs during the month and 131,000 during the past year.

“It’s all good news,” said Mark Butler, state labor commissioner. “First of all, we are continuing to see individuals coming back to the labor force.”

In general, that is seen as a very good thing – a sign that hiring has been heating up. There are currently just over 5 million Georgians in the labor force, that is, either working or looking for a job. The past several years, the number has grown steadily and hiring has more than kept pace.

The participation rate – the share of the population in the labor force – also has been climbing since hitting a low of 57.0 percent six years ago. If the participation rate were still at the bottom, 485,000 fewer people would be working in Georgia.

On the other hand, the participation rate is still 4.2 percentage points from its high. If the share were again 67.3 percent, as it was in 1999, about 334,000 more people would be working.

Job growth during March stretched across most of the market.

Sectors adding the most employees were construction, which was up 4,700 jobs; the corporate sector, up 2,600 jobs; logistics and trade, up 1,800 jobs; information, which rose 1,400; leisure and hospitality, which added 1,200; financial services, which expanded by 900; and education and health, up 600.

In contrast, some job losses came in government, various services and manufacturing.

As the labor force surged, some new workers arrived in Georgia from elsewhere. Some came out of school. And many who had given up looking for work were encouraged enough to try again.

Not everyone found it, of course. Despite the lower jobless rate, there were 257,648 people out of work and actively looking. More troubling, roughly 77,900 of them have been jobless for at least six months – but both of those numbers have been coming down.

Georgia’s unemployment rate is still well above the national rate of 4.5 percent. It has not been below the national average since 2007, before the economy crashed. However, during the past several years of recovery, the pace of job growth in Georgia has been faster than the nation expansion.

The numbers could mask some problems. Retail, for instance, has been steadily shedding jobs nationally, but the Georgia numbers so far do not reflect that. 

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Business

The questions all landlords should ask

The vast majority of rental problems can be eliminated in advance through a good screening process. Many amateur landlords are so desperate for a tenant that they accept the first applicant who walks in the door. That is a rental nightmare waiting to happen. When screening any applicant, remember to be consistent - treat all potential renters the same...
New Atlanta Fed president sees lighter burden for small banks
New Atlanta Fed president sees lighter burden for small banks

Banks — especially the smaller ones — can probably expect a lighter touch from regulators in the future, but not in areas that would weaken protections against another industry meltdown, according to the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank’s new president. Earlier this month the U.S. Treasury Department unveiled a nearly 150-page report...
Couple gets engaged on Delta flight
Couple gets engaged on Delta flight

A Delta Air Lines plane at 30,000 feet became the scene for a carefully-orchestrated engagement this week. Flights were already part of the couple’s long-distance relationship stretched between Atlanta and Pennsylvania — Deepum Patel works in Atlanta while girlfriend Neha Chakravarti has been in dental school in Pennsylvania. During a Wednesday...
Georgia sees huge drop in people on food stamps
Georgia sees huge drop in people on food stamps

Georgia is seeing a significant decrease in the number of people receiving food stamps as the improving economy lifts many recipients into new jobs and frees them from the fear of going hungry. The number of Georgians getting food stamps has dropped by 300,000 from 1.9 million in April 2013 to 1.6 million. That decrease of 16 percent in the federally...
Record number of travelers expected over July 4th weekend
Record number of travelers expected over July 4th weekend

A record number of people are expected to travel over the 4th of July holiday weekend, according to AAA. A total of 44.2 million Americans are forecast to take trips over the period running from June 30 to July 4. In Georgia, 1.3 million people will travel for the holiday, AAA says. Most of them will be driving. But 3.4 million across the country are...
More Stories