Georgia’s unemployment rate dipped from 5.7 percent to 5.6 percent on modest job growth in November, the state labor department said Thursday.
The rate has improved from 6.7 percent in November of last year and has fallen from a recession high of 10.5 percent. It had been above 6 percent from May of 2008 until August. Now, for four months in a row that rate has checked in below 6 percent – so it’s no fluke.
Maybe it’s even a habit.
That would be nice. Even if Georgia’s unemployment rate has been above the national average since October 2007.
Here’s what is going on:
— Employers are hiring more workers. The number of jobs grew by 3,700 during the month, totaling 4,309,100 in the state.
— There was job growth in professional and business services, construction, education and health, leisure and hospitality and manufacturing.
— Employers laid off more people during the month. New initial claims for unemployment insurance rose 14 percent to 33,773. That is 18 percent higher than in November a year ago.
— Over the past year, the state has added 92,900 jobs. That brought the unemployment rate down from 6.7 percent in November of last year. But Georgia’s rate is still considerably higher than the 5.0 percent national average.
— In perhaps the best sign, the jobless rate dipped even while the number of people in the labor force was going up. During November, the state’s labor force increased by 14,236.
One quibble: despite a good November and a strong October, over the year, the pace of job growth has not been as good as the year before. Looking back at growth, 2014 was a better year than 2013, which was a better year than 2012, which was a better year than 2011, which was better than 2010, which was better than 2009.
And one concern: a historically high number of people who are unemployed have been looking for work a long time. More than 100,000 people in the state — 39 percent of all the officially jobless — have been searching for a job for at least six months.
That does not include people who have given up looking.