Georgia employers flash strength as they hire more workers in April

Georgia employers were hiring strongly in April, adding the most jobs to their payrolls in more than two years.
Georgia State University students Kavita Javalagi, left, and Gana Natarajan, second from left, speak with Shetundra Pinkston, during the Startup Student Connection job fair, Wednesday, March 29, 2023, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Alex Sliz)

Georgia employers were hiring strongly in April, adding the most jobs to their payrolls in more than two years, as the state’s job market showed continued strength.

The number of workers on payrolls in the state — the top labor market measure for many economists — rose by more than 35,000, hitting yet another monthly record at 4.99 million. That’s the strongest monthly increase since October 2021, leaving payrolls 90,000 higher than in April 2023.

Unemployment stayed anchored at 3.1% for the fourth month in a row in April, near a record low for the state. That’s barely lower than April 2023, when 3.2% of Georgia workers said they were jobless according to a survey of workers that is separate from the payroll survey.

Slightly more people entered Georgia’s labor force looking for new jobs than reported having a job, with the number of unemployed Georgians inching up to about 166,000. Both the labor force and number of people saying they were working hit another all-time high in April.

The Georgia Department of Labor released the numbers Thursday. They are adjusted to cancel out typical seasonal fluctuations.

The job totals are good news even as some other numbers flash warning signs for Georgia’s economy. Both sales and income tax collections have been falling in recent months. While state income tax comparisons are made difficult by tax cuts, the decrease in sales tax suggests people are spending less on goods.

About 4,700 Georgia workers filed for new unemployment benefits in the week that ended May 11, and the overall number of people collecting state unemployment was about 28,000 in the week that ended May 4. Both those numbers are slightly lower than in earlier weeks.

The nationwide unemployment rate ticked up to 3.9% in April from 3.8% in March. It was 3.4% a year ago.