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State jobless rate holds steady
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ATLANTA—The Georgia Department of Labor announced that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in February was 5.4 percent, unchanged from January.  The rate was 6.2 percent in February 2015. 

“Although the unemployment rate held steady, our January-to-February job growth is much stronger than what we’ve averaged for the last three years, and we had a significant reduction in new layoffs,” said State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. “Our strong over-the-year job growth continues to out pace the national average.”

The number of jobs increased by 11,900, or 0.3 percent, in February to 4,342,100, up from 4,330,200 in January. Most of the increase came in trade, transportation and warehousing, 6,000; professional and business services, 3,700; government, 1,600; construction, 900, and education and health services, 900. The overall job gains were somewhat offset by losses in manufacturing, financial activities, and other services.

And, over the year, there was an increase of 116,000 jobs, a 2.7 percent growth rate, compared to a U.S. growth rate of 1.9 percent, as jobs in Georgia increased from 4,226,100 in February 2015. The sectors showing the largest increases were professional and business services, 29,700; trade, transportation and warehousing, 28,500; leisure and hospitality, 19,100; education and health services, 10,400; manufacturing, 9,100, and construction, 9,000. Only one job sector, information services, lost jobs over the year. 

While the number of jobs increased, the number of initial claims for unemployment insurance, a measure of new layoffs, declined by 24,881, or 45.9 percent, to 29,339 in February. Most of the decline was due to a decrease in claims filed in manufacturing and construction, administrative and support services, trade, transportation and warehousing, and accommodations and food services.  

However, over the year, the number of claims rose slightly by 48, or 0.2 percent, from 29,291 filed in February 2015. The increase came mostly in manufacturing. 

In February, the state’s labor force increased by 17,129 to 4,817,993. 

Butler said job seekers and employers should use the GDOL’s online job listing service, to search for jobs or recruit new employees.  In February, 77,004 jobs throughout the state were posted on Employ Georgia.   

To learn more about career opportunities and GDOL services for job seekers and employers, connect with the state Labor Department on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, which can be accessed at