The Georgia Department of Labor announced Thursday that Georgia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased to 7.1 percent in February, down two-tenths of a percentage point from 7.3 percent in January. The rate was 8.5 percent in February a year ago.
"This is the eighth month in a row that Georgia's unemployment rate has declined," said State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. "The rate dropped in February because Georgia employers created nearly 7,000 new jobs and reduced the number of new layoffs more than 30 percent."
The number of jobs increased to 4,036,700 in February, up by 6,600, or 0.2 percent, from 4,030,100 in January. The job gains came in the state-operated public schools, 4,500; professional and business services, 3,800; construction, 3,400; education and health services, 1,500; and manufacturing, 1,000. Losses came mostly in trade, transportation, and warehousing, 7,200.
Over the year, the number of jobs increased by 57,000, or 1.4 percent increase, from 3,979,700 jobs in February 2013. The big job gainers were trade, transportation and warehousing, 17,100; leisure and hospitality, 15,200; professional and business services, 11,900; construction, 9,200, and education and health services, 7,200. Government lost 12,000 jobs.
"We're seeing a lot of good news across most sectors, but probably the one we're the most excited about is construction," said Butler. "The one-month growth rate is 2.3 percent and over the year it's 6.6 percent, which is outpacing all other sectors."
There were 40,322 new claims for unemployment insurance filed in February, a drop of 17,769, or 30.6 percent, from 58,091 in January. Most of the decline in claims came in manufacturing, trade, transportation and warehousing, administrative and support services, and accommodations and food service. There were 38,696 claims in February 2013.