"The state really is prospering," Mark Butler said. "We continue to see our current businesses expanding and companies moving to Georgia to take advantage of our low taxes, great transportation system and excellent labor force."
Unemployment – which is calculated from a separate survey – edged down to 4.3 percent in April. A year ago, the state’s jobless rate was 4.9 percent. That compares to a high of 10.6 percent in 2010.
Jobless claims, a signal of layoffs, were not up. And there was hiring in many sectors, including construction and various services. The largest gain came in leisure and hospitality, which grows when people have money to spend on restaurants, bars, hotels and entertainment.
But those are not typically high-paying jobs and the corporate sector – which does pay well – was the big loser in April, down nearly 10,000 jobs all by itself.
There was no particular reason to think the economy has hit an inflection point, so the causes of the slowdown are not clear: Perhaps hiring was chilled by the cold, weather or the threats of a trade war. And perhaps climbing gas prices had an impact.
Construction has still not reached its pre-recession peaks, but the sector has grown solidly. Here a picture of workers moving glass into place on the new corporate headquarters for NCR last year. JOHN SPINK/JSPINK@AJC.COM.
The state has added 67,100 jobs since last April – good, but slower expansion than the five previous years.
Georgia economy, a snapshot:
Jobs in April: down 2,800
Average jobs added in April*: 7,000
Jobs over past year: up 67,100
Average jobs April-April*: 98,100
Number of unemployed: 222,270
Number of long-term unemployed: 62,800
Unemployment rate: 4.3 percent
*Averages for five previous years.
Source: Georgia Department of Labor