Inconsistent employment gains across the state; unemployment rate stays at 9.2%

New numbers today from the Georgia Department of Labor:

The Georgia Department of Labor announced today that Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 9.2 percent in August. The rate is unchanged from July, when the preliminary 9.3 percent rate was revised to 9.2 percent. The jobless rate was 9.9 percent in August a year ago. [. . .]

Georgia has created 49,700 jobs since the 3,889,500 recorded in August 2011. The annual growth sectors were professional and business services, 25,500; trade and transportation, 22,500; education and health services, 9,800; manufacturing, 6,900; and leisure and hospitality, 4,700.

The pace of new layoffs continues to slow, as the number of initial claims dropped to 45,725, down by 10,815, or 19.1 percent, from 56,540 in July. Most of the decline in claims came in manufacturing and administrative and support services. The number of new claims was down by 19 percent over the year, dropping by 10,751 from 56,476 in August a year ago.

First, a reminder that the payroll jobs data comes from a survey of establishments, while the unemployment rate comes from a survey of households. The full data set from the household survey and the August unemployment rates for specific cities, counties, and metro areas will be released in a week or so.

A quick glance at the data suggests a slowly healing labor market — but one establishing little momentum in much of the state.

The state as a whole added 49,700 payroll jobs over the last year, for a mediocre increase of 1.3 percent. But as I have discussed before, the gains were inconsistent across the state. Some metro areas saw gains — ranging from solid to weak — over the last 12 months: Gainesville (4.7 percent), Athens (3.2 percent), Savannah (2.5 percent — much better numbers than recently), Valdosta (1.8 percent), Atlanta (1.3 percent), Macon (1.3 percent), Albany (0.8 percent), Rome (0.5 percent), and Brunswick (0.3 percent). Hinesville was absolutely flat.

A number of metro areas lost jobs between August 2011 and August 2012: Columbus (-0.2 percent), Warner Robins (-0.2 percent), Augusta (-1.6 percent), and Dalton (-5.1 percent). Dalton’s grim numbers resulted in a New York Times article in August: No End to Housing Bust in ‘Carpet Capital of the World’

While payrolls increased by 1.3 percent statewide, it’s worth noting that private payrolls increased by a much more robust 1.8 percent.

Government employment fell by 1.3 percent over the last year, from 663,000 to 654,300. Local governments added a small number of jobs, but state government employment declined by 4.2 percent and federal employment in the state fell by 2.4 percent. Those are significant cuts.

I’ll follow up when the rest of the August data is available.


  1. saltycracker says:

    We beat on thIs subject on an earlier blog.
    Not sure how this number is determined except as you say a household survey.

    Empirical observation and conversations with folks indicates that it is a rare bird to be unemployed in the true sense. Most are birds flying under the reporting radar, scamming the system, wanting but not seeking, cant pass the drug test or basic interview, taking a break as the spouse/parent provides and personal choices like don’t like the job, pay, location, image or environment.

    Perhaps the stat is one of those interesting subjective things to
    get a feel of direction. But it shouldn’t be one to base legislation on,

    The government run insurance program isn’t doing too well either.

    • Dave Bearse says:

      Yeah. There’s thousands of no-benefit $8 dollar an hour job-openings for the taking in the agricultural services industry since HB31 was enacted.

      It’s just like the freeloading of the 47% that don’t pay federal income taxes.

      “The government run insurance program isn’t doing too well either.” Do you expect different when a tax holiday is granted at precisely the time the insurance program was supposed to be accumulating reserves?

      The GaGOP govern

      • saltycracker says:

        To be a bit more specific:
        Ag jobs – I thought HB31 was about property taxes and HB87 about illegals. Not sure if you support open borders or think all the available jobs are min. wage. The Feds need to fix the immigration laws, if there is a job card them, tax them, follow them.

        The 47% that avoid income taxes come from across the real income board from poor to rich to mega-corporations but to portray them as freeloaders (legal & illegal) would be correct. Fix it with a flat or fair tax, no execeptions, no exemptions, no subsidies, no rebates….

        A tax holiday is a political stunt, just like specialized tax breaks……businesses learned real fast how to adjust computers and gas pumps to advantage themselves……

        The GaGOP doesn’t govern, they are too busy self-dealing, throwing out legislative bones and reducing oversight/enforcement. The more overt ones faking concern for the disenfranchised are called Democrats.

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