Special to the Journal
ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Labor announced today that Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased to 8.7 percent in August, down one-tenth of a percentage point from 8.8 percent in July. The rate was three-tenths of a percentage point lower than 9.0 percent in August a year ago. The decline follows three consecutive months of rate increases.
“The primary reason the rate dropped is that we had a significant reduction in layoffs, in fact, the fewest since September 2007,” said State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. “Also, we had a small increase in the number of jobs.”
There were 35,503 new layoffs, represented by initial claims for unemployment insurance, 18,603, or 34.4 percent, fewer than the 54,106 in July. Much of the decline came in manufacturing, as workers who were temporarily laid off in July returned to work in August. Fewer claims also came in construction, trade, and administrative and support services.
Also, the number of initial claims was down by 10,222, or 22.4 percent, from 45,725 in August 2012. Reductions were mostly in manufacturing, construction, trade, and administrative and support services.
There were 4,045,100 jobs in August, up by 3,000 from 4,042,100 in July. Government added 10,700 jobs, as education workers returned to the public schools after the summer vacation. However, the gain was offset somewhat by the loss of 7,700 private sector jobs, mostly in professional and business services.
“The job gains that we normally would have in August, especially in the private sector, occurred in June and July, two months in which we normally lose thousands of jobs,” Butler said. “As far as the overall number of jobs, we are much better off this August than last.”
Georgia gained 82,300 jobs, or 2.1 percent, since August 2012 when there were 3,962,800 jobs. The gains came in several sectors, including: professional and business services, 28,600; leisure and hospitality, 21,600; education and health services, 19,100; trade and transportation, 16,700; construction, 5,100; financial services, 3,300; and information services, 2,000. Government has lost 8,900 jobs in the past year.
The labor force, which is the number of people employed plus those unemployed but actively looking for work, declined by 16,172 to 4,796,957 in August, down from 4,813,129 in July. And, it was also down by 9,521 from 4,806,478 in August 2012.
There were 176,300 long-term unemployed workers, down by 3,600, or 2.0 percent, from 179,900 in July. This was the fewest since 168,200 in December 2009.