Georgia unemployment remains below national average as initial claims rise

(The Center Square) — Georgia’s July unemployment rate was 3.2%, unchanged from June’s revised rate, even as more Georgians filed initial unemployment claims.

The state’s unemployment rate is also lower than the national unemployment rate of 3.5%. In July, Georgians filed 31,410 initial claims for unemployment benefits, up 34%, or 7,933, from a month earlier and 2,865 from last year.

“Georgia’s economic resilience hinges on a delicate balance between job creation and industry growth,” Labor Commissioner Bruce Thompson said in an announcement. “While we are thrilled to have an unemployment rate lower than the national average and a record number of workers to fill essential roles, we are maintaining a watchful eye on unemployment trends to ensure a sustainable path forward.”

According to numbers from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the Peach State’s labor participation rate was 61.3% in June, unchanged from May. In a release, state officials indicated that the labor participation rate increased to 61.4% in July.

While the number of jobs increased by 0.1%, or 2,600, from last month and 1.8%, or 88,300, from last year, Georgia’s labor participation rate remains below the 62.8% rate in May 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic and the 62.4% rate in October 2020, after the state re-opened. During the pandemic, the labor participation rate reached its low point of 59.5% in September 2020.

Separately, a new analysis from WalletHub, a personal finance website, found Georgia ranked among the top states where employers struggle the most in hiring. The Peach State ranked fourth, ahead of neighboring South Carolina (5), North Carolina (8), Tennessee (13), Florida (23) and Alabama (24).

By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor

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