(The Center Square) — Georgia’s seasonally adjusted October unemployment rate was 3.4%, the same as September’s revised rate.
The Peach State’s unemployment rate increased from the 3.1% rate a year ago. However, it was below the national rate of 3.9%.
Georgia’s rate was higher than neighboring Alabama (2.3%), Florida (2.8%), South Carolina (2.9%) and Tennessee (3.3%). It was the same as North Carolina (3.4%).
“As we entice diverse industries to establish roots within the state, it is crucial to continue cultivating a highly skilled workforce capable of meeting surging job demands while not simply moving talent around between industries,” Georgia Labor Commissioner Bruce Thompson said in an announcement. “By cultivating an economy that empowers people, Georgia will continue to maintain our status as a beacon of hope and opportunity for all.”
State officials said Georgia’s labor force surpassed 5.3 million, an all-time high, while its labor force participation rate increased to 61.6%, up from 61% since the start of the year.
Meanwhile, the Senate Study Committee on Expanding Georgia’s Workforce has issued its final report, which concluded public and private employers “are facing unprecedented challenges in recruitment and retention.” Its recommendations include developing a state website for employers to find qualified applicants, allowing students to transfer credits between state technical colleges and public universities more easily and allocating funding to cover the tuition of students pursuing degrees in high-demand fields.
Most Georgia “employers agree that there are many opportunities to expand Georgia’s workforce by advertising and enhancing existing programs and partnerships,” the committee wrote in the report. “For example, there are existing apprenticeship programs throughout the state that are woefully underutilized due to lack of adequate messaging among target audiences – students, their families, and their schools.”
On Monday, the National Federation of Independent Business said Georgia small business owners welcomed the report.
“Our small business members say finding and keeping good workers is one of the biggest problems they face,” NFIB State Director Hunter Loggins said in an announcement.
“This is only the beginning of the process, and it’s impossible to predict what the final legislation may look like, but we’re encouraged that legislative leaders recognize the challenges our members face in hiring qualified workers and that they’ve already begun searching for ways to address the labor issue,” Loggins added.
By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor