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Georgia’s jobless rate dips slightly in September

State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the unemployment rate dropped last month because Georgia had its "fewest new claims for unemployment insurance benefits in five years."

The state’s unemployment rate dropped last month as the Georgia Department of Labor announced Thursday that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined to 9.0 percent in September.

That’s down two-tenths of a percentage point from 9.2 percent in August and eight-tenths of a percentage point from September 2011 as fewer employers laid off workers last month.

“The unemployment rate dropped in September because Georgia had the fewest new claims for unemployment insurance benefits in five years, since before the start of the Great Recession,” State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said in a release.

The national unemployment rate is 7.8 percent.

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The number of initial claims in September declined to 39,564, down by 6,161 from 45,725 in August—the fewest since 32,139 were filed in September 2007. Most of the decline came in administrative and support services, retail trade, health care and social assistance, educational services, and accommodations and food services.

While the state lost 400 jobs from August to September, it actually gained 61,800 jobs since the 3,877,600 in September of 2011, climbing to 3,939,400.  The growth sectors were professional and business services, up 23,500; trade, transportation, and warehousing, up 23,100; education and health care, up 13,000; leisure and hospitality, up 9,100; manufacturing, up 8,700; and technology, up 1,100.

Commissioner Butler is especially pleased with the improvement in the state’s manufacturing industry.

“We’re continuing to see gains in manufacturing and a lot of the credit for that goes to the great job the state’s Department of Economic Development and Governor Deal have been doing, not only in attracting new manufacturers, but helping to hold on to the ones that we have,” Butler said. “Last month’s gain in manufacturing jobs was the largest over-the-month gain that we’ve seen for this time period since 1994.” The number of manufacturing jobs from August to September grew 1,900. The August to September growth in 1994 was 2,000.

Another positive sign is the growth in Georgia’s labor force, which climbed to 4,777,977 in September, up by 18,126, or four-tenths of a percentage point, from 4,759,851 in August. The state’s workforce totaled 4,731,276 in September 2011.

The number of long-term unemployed workers declined for the fifth consecutive month, dropping 8,400 from August to 208,800 in September, the fewest since 204,700 were recorded in March 2010. The long-term unemployed, those out of work for more than 26 weeks, make up 48.6 percent of those unemployed in Georgia, the lowest percent in two years.

- The Georgia Department of Labor contributed t this report

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