The Georgia Department of Labor yesterday estimated that the seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate fell to 9.0 percent in September from 9.2 percent in August. Some folks cried foul when the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated a .3 percent drop in the national rate a few weeks ago, but so far I haven’t heard any complaints about Georgia’s rate declining almost as much.
There was other clearly positive news in yesterday’s press release, including the following: “The number of initial claims in September declined to 39,564, down by 6,161 from 45,725 in August—the fewest since 32,139 were filed in September 2007.”
The number of unemployment claims is still very high and indicates a struggling labor market, but the trends are good.
The unemployment rate comes from a survey of households. A separate, less noisy, and more reliable survey of payroll establishments estimates that Georgia had 3.94 million jobs in September, up 61,800 from September a year ago. That’s a respectable increase.
But as I’ve noted here before (see here and here) job growth has not been consistent across the state. I’m glad to say that the employment estimates for Savannah have trended very positive over the last few months, as they have in a couple of other metro areas that had been lagging. Here’s the list of metro areas showing payroll job growth in percentage terms year-over-year:
- Gainesville +4.3
- Athens +3.1
- Brunswick +2.8
- Savannah +2.4
- Valdosta +2.1
- Albany +2.0
- Macon +1.7
- Atlanta +1.4
- Rome +1.1
- Hinesville +.5
- Warner Robins +.3
Only three metro areas are continuing to show year-over-year declines in payroll jobs (expressed in percentage terms):
- Augusta -1.0
- Columbus -1.3
- Dalton -4.5
We haven’t yet seen all the data from the survey of households. We’ll see those estimates in a week or so when the regional and metro unemployment rates are released.