2019 was another banner year for Georgia with increases in jobs, work force and employed residents, state Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said.

In fact, the year-end numbers in all three categories were record highs, preliminary numbers showed. At the same time, the December unemployment rate was another record low.

“Georgia closed out 2019 on a very high note,” Butler said. “We set records right across the board on all the major indicators. It’s kind of hard to have any better year than Georgia had.”

The unemployment rate settled at 3.2 percent as 2019 came to a close. That’s down from 3.7 percent a year ago. Georgia has now set a new record low two months in a row after first tying the old record in October.

Georgia ended 2019 setting a record for total number of jobs at 4.65 million. The state added just under 70,000 over the past 12 months, including about 4,000 in December.

“Georgia’s done a great job bringing in new business and helping our local businesses around the state grow jobs,” Butler said.

Some job sectors were particularly strong in 2019, the commissioner noted. The state added more than 10,000 jobs in three sectors: Education, health services – 25,400; leisure, hospitality – 16,600; trade, transportation, utilities – 10,400.

With jobs up, employment also climbed for the month and year.

Georgia ended 2019 with a record high 4.97 million employed residents. That’s an increase of nearly 47,000 over the past 12 months. The number also climbed by more than 12,000 in December.

Georgia’s labor force continued to grow but struggled to keep pace with job creation and employment numbers.

“We do need our labor force to expand at a faster pace,” Butler said. “Right now, we are growing jobs three times as fast.”

The labor force grew by just under 18,000 over the past 12 months to reach 5.13 million – a new record high. That includes adding 7,832 in December.

For the year, claims also went down. There were 291,962 unemployment claims filed in 2019 – down 6 percent from the number filed in 2018. For the month, claims rose about 78%.

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