ATLANTA — Georgia set another record last month with an unemployment rate of 3.2%, down from 3.7% in December 2018, state Commissioner of Labor Mark Butler reported Thursday.
The state hit record low unemployment for the second month in a row after tying the mark in October.
Those results helped Georgia close out 2019 on a strong note with an all-time high of 4.65 million jobs. The state added just fewer than 70,000 jobs during the last 12 months, including 4,000 in December.
“It’s kind of hard to have any better year than Georgia had,” Butler said. “Georgia’s done a great job bringing in new business and helping our local businesses around the state grow jobs.”
Some job sectors were particularly strong last year. The state added 25,400 jobs in the education and health services sector, 16,600 in leisure and hospitality, and 10,400 in trade, transportation and utilities.
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 fewer than 18,000 over the past 12 months to reach a record 5.13 million.
With such low unemployment and growth in the labor force trailing job creation, State Economist Jeffrey Dorfman said this week the only way Georgia can continue its healthy economic growth is by attracting more companies from out of state.
Polk County already is seeing record lows in unemployment numbers as well, down to 2.9% in November based on preliminary numbers. Local numbers for December haven’t been released yet for rates, but the number of unemployment claims did rise with the holiday season. Likely those numbers will be adjusted downward from 360 claims last month to something similar to the 150 claims posted in December 2018 since business shutdowns during the holidays do impact the numbers overall.
If numbers hold out, the unemployment rate will remain the lowest it has been since records began being kept nationwide on the number of people without or in between jobs.