State unemployment claims hit 15-year low

ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) announced recently that the number of initial claims for unemployment insurance in April hit the lowest level since June 2000.

There were 2,157 initial claims for unemployment insurance in April, a 7.2-percent decrease from March. One-quarter of the claims filed in April were temporary. The decline came as employers laid off fewer workers, primarily in textile manufacturing, food processing and construction. Overall, claims were down to 27,739 from 29,896 in March.

Over the year, claims were down 17.3 percent from 33,561 in April 2014, a decline of 5,822.  The decline came mostly in manufacturing, administrative and support services, trade, transportation and warehousing, and accommodations and food services.

The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for April was 6.3 percent, which is unchanged from March. The rate was 7.3 percent a year ago.

“While our unemployment rate for April held steady for the third straight month, our employers continue to create new jobs and lay off fewer workers,” said State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. “The stable rate continues the 54-month trend in which we’ve seen our rate either remain unchanged or go down.”

The number of seasonally adjusted jobs grew by 7,400 to 4,247,500 in April, up by 0.2 percent, from 4,240,100 in March.  The state has averaged an increase of 7,400 jobs from March to April for the past three years. Most of the job gains came in professional and business services, 4,100; arts entertainment and recreation, 3,200; local government, including the public schools, 1,600; construction, 1,100; health care and social assistance, 800; and nondurable manufacturing, including textiles and food processing, also 800.

The job gains were offset somewhat by losses in wholesale trade, 1,600; other services, including personal, laundry, repair and maintenance, 1,200; financial activities, which includes insurance, real estate, rental and leasing, 1,100; and state government, 800.

“We did very well over the year, as we saw the largest April-to-April job growth we’ve seen in 16 years,” said Butler. “And, our rate of growth at 3.0 percent is significantly higher than the national growth rate of 2.2 percent.”

Over the year, 121,900 jobs were added, as all employment sectors grew and with four of them exceeding 3. 0 percent. Those were trade, transportation and warehousing, 31,800; leisure and hospitality, including accommodations and food services, 23,900; professional and business services, 21,700; and, education and health services, 20,400. Additional job growth came in manufacturing, 7,100; state and local government, 5,500; financial activities, 5,200; construction, 3,100; information services, 2,300; and other services, 1,200.

The increase in the number of jobs has led to an increased demand for skilled employees. Butler says job seekers should utilize EmployGeorgia, the GDOL’s new online recruiting service. “It’s new and modern and we’re showing several hundred thousand job openings across the state,” he said. Visit www.EmployGeorgia.com to search for jobs or obtain more information.

Source: Georgia Department of Labor

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Jeannie Oliver

Jeannie Oliver is a writer and PR practitioner with a long string of awards behind her name. With a degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma, Jeannie has worked as a high school journalism teacher, an editor for the Appaloosa Journal, and a media spokesperson for...