Georgia unemployment rate hits new all-time low of 3% in May

The Georgia Department of Labor released the latest unemployment figures on Thursday, June 16, 2022.

David Goldman / Associated Press

Georgia’s unemployment rate hit a new record low of 3% in May as more people entered the labor force and more workers found jobs.

The jobless rate ticked down from 3.1%, the previous all-time low, which was set in March and equaled in April. A year ago, 4.1% of Georgia workers were unemployed.

More than 5.1 million people said they were working in May, while 157,000 Georgians were unemployed and seeking work.

Georgia’s jobless rate has been falling or stable — never rising — in every month since hitting an all-time high of 12.3% at the start of the pandemic in April 2020.

The number of workers on employer payrolls — the top labor market measure for many economists — rose by 17,000 in Georgia in May, reaching 4.77 million. That’s 237,000 above payroll levels last year.

Payrolls hit a new all-time high for the sixth straight month. Payrolls are measured by a survey of employers, separate from the survey of individuals.

Labor Commissioner Mark Butler, a Republican not seeking reelection, said his agency is trying to get more people to enter the labor market to relieve a scarcity of workers.

“We have seen wages increase at an accelerated rate as employers compete for talent in the workplace,” Butler said in a statement.

The state released the figures Thursday. They are adjusted to cancel out seasonal fluctuations.

The nationwide unemployment rate stayed level at 3.6% in May for the third month in a row, down from 5.8% a year ago.

About 6,000 Georgia workers filed for new unemployment benefits in the week ended June 11. New unemployment filings have fallen to pre-pandemic levels in the state.

The overall number of people collecting state unemployment was about 28,000 in the week that ended June 4.