Metro Atlanta’s jobless rate jumps to 7.3 percent in May

Metro Atlanta’s unemployment rate jumped to 7.3 percent in May from 6.5 percent in April as new graduates entered the labor force seeking full-time work and other students searched for summer jobs, the state labor department said Thursday.

The total labor force — those working or looking for work — increased by 24,421 to reach 2,752,814 in May.

The number of jobs rose by 19,700 to hit 2,465,200 in May. Most of the May gains came in professional and business services — 6,900 new jobs; leisure and hospitality — 4,700; trade, transportation, and warehousing — 3,600; financial services — 2,200; construction — 1,800; manufacturing — 1,000; education and health services — 500; information services — 300; and other services — 400.

Government, meanwhile, lost 1,700 jobs.

The annual job growth was the largest May-to-May increase since 2006. The number of jobs increased by 59,400 from May 2013, when the unemployment rate was 8.0 percent.

The annual job gainers were in professional and business services — 20,100; trade, transportation, and warehousing — 14,600; leisure and hospitality — 9,400; construction — 7,100; education and health services — 4,800; financial services — 2,800; manufacturing — 2,200; and information services — 500.

Government lost 1,400 jobs during the past year.

Also, there were 15,581 new claims for unemployment insurance filed in May. That was an increase 0.9 percent from April. Most of the increase in claims came in accommodations, food services and health care. But the number of claims fell from May 2013 when there were 21,677 filed.

For the core metro Atlanta counties, Gwinnett posted the lowest jobless rate at 6.5 percent. It was followed by Cobb at 6.8 percent, DeKalb (7.6 percent), Fulton (8.0 percent) and Clayton (8.9 percent).

Metro Athens had the state’s lowest area jobless rate at 5.7 percent, while the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest at 9.8 percent.

Last week, the state reported that Georgia’s unemployment rate rose to 7.2 percent in May from 6.9 percent in April.

Both the state and metro Atlanta continue to trail the national rate, currently 6.3 percent.

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