Georgia unemployment holding steady despite inflation pressure, says Labor commissioner

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Georgia’s unemployment rate is holding steady despite persistent inflation.

Joblessness in the Peach State stood at 3.1% last month for the seventh month in a row and was half a percentage point lower than the national unemployment rate of 3.6%. Georgia had the highest labor force participation rate in the Southeast at 61%.

“It is clear that Georgia means business,” state Commissioner of Labor Bruce Thompson said of the latest numbers. “Due to sustained investments in the state’s economy and talented workforce, Georgia remains a top destination to live, work, and raise a family.”

The number of jobs in Georgia rose by 3,200 in February to nearly 4.8 million, an all-time high. Job sectors reporting all-time highs included private education and health services at 648,900 jobs, and leisure and hospitality at 510,900.

Leisure and hospitality was among the hardest hit job sectors during the pandemic, losing 222,300 jobs. But last month, it became the last private sector group to regain all jobs lost during the economic shutdown following the outbreak of COVID-19.

Georgia’s labor force also increased in February for the fifth straight month to nearly 5.1 million. However, the number of unemployed Georgians rose last month to 162,981.

First-time unemployment claims declined last month from January by 45% to 23,055. However, initial jobless claims were up 4% from February of last year.

More than 120,000 job openings in Georgia were listed online at Employ Georgia in February. Industries with the most openings included accommodation and food services with 18,000, retail trade with 8,600, and manufacturing with 7,800.