After several strong months to start the year, Metro Atlanta lost 3,400 jobs in April, according to data released Thursday by the Georgia Department of Labor.
The region’s unemployment rate slipped from a revised 3.8 percent in March to 3.6 percent in April, according to the state.
However, that decrease came for the wrong reasons: the metro workforce shrunk by more than 33,000 workers during the month. Those people, jobless but not actively searching for work, are not counted in the official unemployment number.
April can be a bumpy month for the economy with weather and school schedules sometimes having outsized impact. In four of the five previous Aprils, the number of people in the workforce declined.
Still, the longer-term trend continues to look good: the metro Atlanta economy has added 50,100 jobs in the past 12 months, accounting for nearly 70 percent of the state’s growth in that time.
Atlanta has come a long way since the depths of the Great Recession.
Since hitting rock bottom in 2010, the metro Atlanta economy has added 581,000 jobs and seen the unemployment rate fall from a high of 10.6 percent – all while the region’s labor force expanded by nearly 379,000 people.
“Georgia’s economy continues to be strong,” said Mark Butler, the state’s labor commissioner, in a statement Thursday. “In April we saw several communities set records for jobs and others set records for lowest unemployment rate. Typically, we see gains through the summer as well.”
While the economic expansion is poised to become the longest period of steady growth since World War II, age itself is not a mortal threat. Instead, economists say there must be a reason for an expansion to die.
And for sure, there are some “head winds” -- like the trade war and higher interest rates. There are also those who suggest reasons to worry about the future.
So, it’s possible that last month was just something of a breather for hiring or -- more likely -- a statistical payback for what seemed to be a strong start to the year.
Metro Atlanta typically adds jobs in May and June. The region has not seen back-to-back job losses in April and May since 2009.
Change in number of metro Atlanta jobs
Feb: up 19,200
March: up 13,800
April: down 3,400
Number of unemployed, metro Atlanta
High (2010): 295,195
A year ago: 110,755
Sources: Georgia Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics
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