Ga. unemployment drops to 7.4 percent

Because more than 4,000 more people in Georgia were employed in December, the state unemployment rate dropped to 7.4 percent last month, down two-tenths of a percentage point from November, the Department of Labor commissioner said Thursday.

State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the hiring was mostly seasonal in the retail, transportation and warehousing industries. Butler added that it was the best December job growth in eight years as the state counted 90,100 more jobs than last December. The unemployment rate was 8.7 percent in December, 2012.

The overall number of unemployed Georgians decreased to 349,946, down by 12,185 from November. This is the fewest unemployed Georgians since October 2008 when there were 346,852.

The state lost 4,800 jobs between November and December, but it was a smaller number than the 7,400 average in the same period over the last five years.

New layoffs increased to 65,889, which was up 95 percent from November due to tempory claims filed in manufacturing and seasonal claims in construction, administrative and support services, accommodations and food services and trade and transportation. By comparison, there were 32,108 claims in November, and 50,861 claims in December, 2012.