(The Center Square) — While Georgia officials routinely tout the state’s low unemployment rate, a new report found hundreds of thousands of residents are “missing” from the labor force.
According to a Georgia Center for Opportunity analysis, 454,100 Georgians are not in the labor force and have effectively given up on work. The number does not include retirees, students or full-time caregivers.
“The startling statistic shows a hidden story behind the unemployment rate that reveals deeper cracks in the labor market that will cause problems for years to come, both in the economy and in individuals’ lives,” Erik Randolph, GCO’s director of research, said in a news release. “The reason why this matters is not strictly an economic one — we know that these individuals’ giving up on work has profound social, psychological, and relational impacts that extend well beyond the pocketbook.”
The analysis also revealed that 208,600 Georgians meet the official definition of “unemployed,” while an additional 147,900 Georgians are currently working part-time but searching for full-time employment.
A Georgia Department of Labor spokeswoman said the agency had no comment on the findings.
Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in September stood at 2.8% for the third consecutive month. The rate is down slightly from 3.2% in January and 3.5% in September 2021.
Numbers from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis show Georgia’s seasonally adjusted labor participation rate stood at 62.1% in August, down from 68.7% in August 2008. Since 2009, the state’s labor participation rate hit 66% in March, April and May 2009 and dropped to 59.4% in September 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor