Largest number of jobs since recession

More people working in Georgia. / Jessica Fairley

After a steady decline, Georgia's unemployment rate has leveled off at 8.9 percent.

For the past five years, the unemployed have struggled with finding jobs in an economy recovering from the recession. Although unemployment numbers aren't as low as many would like them to be, officials say jobs are on the rebound.

"We're having some good job creation. In fact the number of jobs in May increased to 3,944,900 and that's the largest number of jobs that we've had in Georgia since December of 2007," says Sam Hall, Director of Communications for the Georgia Department of Labor.

Georgia's unemployment rate for May stabilized at 8.9 percent. That's almost a full percentage point less than the 9.8 percent from the previous year.

"We're seeing the growth in the private sector and the private sector especially small businesses is the driving force behind the economy," says Sam Hall.

He says retail trade, transportation, and manufacturing are just a few areas in Georgia seeing growth.

In order to gain employment, officials say job searchers must make sure they are qualified for this competitive market.

"We live in a much more technological society. So the skills that people acquired twenty years ago may not match up with the current job opportunities," says Pamela Heglar, Acting President for Albany Technical College.

Heglar says people must evaluate their skills versus what jobs are in demand. She says if a person wants to break into a field with no experience one option is to initially take the job for free.

"What we encourage our students to do is volunteer in that organization so that you can pick up on some of the more relevant skills for that field," says Pamela Heglar.

Experts say the combination of skills and networking may put job seekers one step closer to gaining employment.

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