Georgia unemployment rate again falls to new all-time low

Another month brought another all-time low for Georgia’s unemployment rate in December 2021, as it dipped to 2.6%. (Photo by David Goldman/AP photo)

Another month brought another all-time low for Georgia’s unemployment rate in December, as it dipped to 2.6%.

For the third month in a row, that’s the lowest level since current records began in 1976, falling from 2.8% in November and less than half the 5.3% reported in December 2021.

A record number of people reported having a job in Georgia — more than 5 million. But the state’s labor force barely grew, having been basically flat for months, as employer demand drains the pool of available workers.

Georgia’s jobless rate has fallen for 20 consecutive months since hitting an all-time high of 12.5% at the start of the pandemic in April 2020.

The number of unemployed Georgians fell to about 136,000 in December.

Employer payrolls — the top labor market measure for many economists — rose by 24,000 in Georgia in December, reaching 4.64 million. That’s 200,000 above payroll levels last year.

Payrolls remain slightly below their pre-pandemic peak according to the employer survey, which is separate from the survey of individuals and sometimes records different results.

The nationwide jobless rate fell to 3.9% in December from 4.2% in November.

The Georgia Department of Labor released the job figures Thursday. They were adjusted to cancel out seasonal changes.

“Although our unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the nation, we have to focus on getting people back into the workforce to fill the jobs Georgia businesses are creating,” Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said in a statement. “Now is one of the best times we have seen for finding employment.”

About 6,700 Georgia workers filed for new unemployment benefits in the week ended Jan. 15. New unemployment filings have fallen to pre-pandemic levels in the state.

The overall number of people collecting regular state unemployment was about 39,000 in the week ended Jan. 8.