The Georgia unemployment rate dipped in July, but hiring was also down, as the economy continued several months of stop-and-go.
After a very strong June, the state’s economy lost 14,500 jobs last month. But the jobless rate, calculated from a different survey, edged down from 4.8 percent to 4.7 percent, the state Labor Department said Thursday.
The unemployment rate was 5.3 percent a year ago. During that time, the Georgia economy has added more than 100,000 jobs.
The last few months, though, have seen a sort of speed-up-then-hit-the-brake mode that local drivers know well.
Georgia job growth was strong in February and March, weak in April and May, fast in June and now July has seen another slowdown.
Yet the overall, average velocity is good. The unemployment rate is now back to levels last seen in mid-2007, before the Great Recession.
Mark Butler, the state labor commissioner said the July numbers need to be seen in context.
“Due to the fact that a lot of summer jobs are held by students, it’s not surprising to see the July decline in jobs, especially with the earlier school start dates this year,” he said.
However, the state has not lost jobs in July since 2012 and has averaged job growth of 10,700 the past three Julys. The past five years, July has averaged growth of 7,000.
Over the past year, Georgia has seen job growth in most sectors, but not all. Sectors with expansion:
-- Professional and business services, 29,800 jobs
-- Leisure and hospitality, 23,300
-- Trade, transportation and warehousing, 15,100
-- Education and health services, 14,100
-- Financial activities, 8,000
-- Government, 5,100
-- Other services, 3,000
-- Information services, 1,400
-- Mining and logging, 1,100.
But there were job losses in two key blue-collar sectors: Manufacturing dropped 3,000 jobs and construction shed 1,700.
Georgia’s unemployment rate is still above the U.S. rate jobless rate of 4.3 percent. The Georgia rate has been higher than the national rate since 2007, but job growth has been more rapid in Georgia than nationally.
The state’s labor market economy has grown for seven years. During that time, the jobless rate has fallen from double digits and the number of officially unemployed has likewise been cut in half.
Still, about 240,000 Georgians are jobless and looking for work. Nearly one-third have been looking for more than six months.
Some in the Federal Reserve have said they want to raise interest rates, arguing that the low unemployment rate shows the economy is close to full employment. A bidding up of wages would then spark a run of higher prices, according to those inflation “hawks.”
However, the rise in wages has been modest.
July unemployment rate in Georgia
2007 4.6 percent
2008 6.3 percent
2009 10.3 percent
2010 10.2 percent
2011 10.1 percent
2012 9.0 percent
2013 8.0 percent
2014 7.1 percent
2015 5.7 percent
2016 5.3 percent
2017 4.7 percent
Job change in July
Sources: Georgia Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Other looks at the local economy:
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