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State unemployment rate stays stable at 6.3 percent
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ATLANTA—The Georgia Department of Labor announced that the state’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for March was 6.3 percent, unchanged from February, matching its lowest level since July 2008. The rate was 7.3 percent a year ago. 

“While the rate held steady in March, we have seen considerable improvement since it began a steady decline from November 2010, when it was 10.5 percent,” said State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. “In fact, the jobless rate has either declined or remained steady every month since then.”

The metro Savannah area has gained 7,900 jobs since March 2014, a 4.9 percent increase. The March number of initial unemployment insurance claims fell by 409 from March 2014, a decrease of 32.4 percent.

As the rate remained unchanged, the number of seasonally-adjusted jobs declined by 6,600, or 0.2 percent, to 4,239,500 in March, down from 4,246,100 in February. Most of the job losses came in accommodations and food services, 4,000; construction, 3,500; and nondurable manufacturing, including textiles, 2,300. Those losses were offset somewhat by gains in health care and social assistance, 2,600; retail trade, 2,200; and finance and insurance, 1,800.  

“Despite a small job loss in March, our over-the-year numbers still look very good,” Butler continued. “Our employers added 127,100 jobs, which is the strongest March–to-March growth we’ve seen since 2000. That’s a growth rate of 3.1 percent, which is much stronger than the 2.3 percent national growth rate.”  

Most of the growth came in trade, transportation and warehousing, 33,700; leisure and hospitality, 24,200; education and health services, 20,500; professional and business services, 18,000; manufacturing and government, 7,800 each; financial activities, 7,400; other services, including repair, maintenance and personal services, 3,000; and construction, 2,200. 

The number of initial claims for unemployment insurance rose by 605, or 2.1 percent, to 29,896 in March, which is up from 29,291 in February.

Almost one-third of the claims were from temporary layoffs, primarily in manufacturing and construction. Most of the increase in claims came in health care and social assistance, accommodations and food services, professional, scientific and technical services, and retail trade. However, claims were down by 918, or 3.0 percent, from 30,814 in March 2014. The over-the-year decline came in several industries, including trade, transportation and warehousing, accommodations and food services, health care and social assistance, and manufacturing.