State posts both job growth and recession-level layoffs

The most consistent growth in the economy has been ecommerce, as Georgians increasingly hit the internet to order.

Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

Georgia added 20,200 jobs in September, healthy growth in normal times but not enough to offset the layoffs that continue to plague the pandemic-burdened economy.

The state’s unemployment rate rose from 5.7% in August to 6.4% last month as the number of job-seekers outpaced hiring.

Still, the economy is moving in the right direction, said Mark Butler, the state’s labor commissioner. “Over the past five months, 340,900 jobs have been gained back from the massive job loss we saw in April.”

Despite that rebound, the state had about 190,700 fewer jobs in September than in February.

Moreover, Georgia’s growth has been uneven, according to data tracked by Harvard University researchers. The number of jobs in the state paying more than $60,000 has grown by 3.3% since the start of the year, while the number of jobs paying less than $27,000 has dropped 14.8%.

Much of the current hiring is part of a surge in seasonal jobs. For instance, Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s announced this week that they are adding about 150 workers in metro Atlanta.

Nationally, there were about 1.3 million new jobless claims last week, including about 373,000 for pandemic assistance available to self-employed and gig workers.

In Georgia, the Department of Labor processed 54,166 new claims for unemployment benefits last week.

The government’s online job board has about 175,000 job listings.

Glassdoor, which lists jobs and analyzes the economy, has seen similar trends, according to Andrew Chamberlain, the company’s chief economist.

Current layoffs don’t even show up in the unemployment numbers for weeks or months, he said via email Thursday. “America is unlikely to see a full economic recovery and a return to low unemployment until the pace of weekly (jobless) claims dials back dramatically."

Number of people in Georgia labor force

Sept. 2019: 5,129,851

Feb. 2020: 5,156,347

Sept. 2020: 4,945,161

Sources: Georgia Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Number of non-farm jobs in Georgia

Sept. 2019: 4,626,100

Feb. 2020: 4,652,100

Sept. 2020: 4,461,400

Sources: Georgia Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Georgia unemployment rate

Sept. 2019: 3.2%

Feb. 2020: 3.1%

April 2020: 12.6%

Sept. 2020: 6.4%

Sources: Georgia Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Georgia weekly jobless claims

Week ending Oct. 10: 54,166

Average, past four weeks: 47,997

High, pre-pandemic: 41,522 (Jan. 10, 2009)

High, pandemic: 390,132 (April 4, 2020)

Sources: Georgia Department of Labor, U.S. Employment and Training Administration

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Georgia jobless claims, week ending

Sept. 19: 49,421

Sept. 26: 43,526

Oct. 3: 44,874

Oct. 10: 54,166

Sources: Georgia Department of Labor, U.S. Employment and Training Administration

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