ATLANTA—State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler announced Thursday that Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined for the ninth consecutive month in April to 8.9 percent, the first time in more than three years the rate has dropped below nine percent. The rate fell one-tenth of a percentage point from 9.0 percent in March. The jobless rate was 9.8 percent in April a year ago.
"We now have the lowest unemployment rate, the fewest unemployed workers, and the most jobs in Georgia in more than three years," said Butler. "Our job market continues to improve at a modest and steady rate."
The last time Georgia’s jobless rate was below nine percent was in February of 2009, when it was also 8.9 percent. There were 423,495 unemployed workers in Georgia in April, the fewest since January 2009, when there were 409,841.
The rate declined as the number of new jobs grew by 31,900, to 3,926,000, the highest number of jobs in Georgia since January 2009. Job growth is up eight-tenths of a percentage point, from 3,894,100 in March. In April a year ago, there were 3,904,400 jobs.
The industries showing growth were: trade and transportation, 9,200; leisure and hospitality, 9,200; professional and business services, 5,900; construction, 3,400; and education and healthcare, 2,700. While the state gained jobs overall, state and local governments shed 3,300 jobs.
The number of initial claims in April rose by 4,816, or 11.3 percent, to 47,492.
Most of the increase in claims came in manufacturing, trade, and administrative and support services. While initial claims increased over the month, the number declined by 6,845, or 12.6 percent, from April 2011.
The number of long-term unemployed workers increased 1,300 in April to 240,500. The long-term unemployed, those out of work for more than 26 weeks, make up 56.8 percent of all unemployed in Georgia. However, the number of long-term unemployed is down 14,300, or 5.6 percent, from April 2011.