ATLANTA — Georgia’s unemployment rate dipped to 3.1% last month, the lowest in the state’s history, the Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) reported Thursday.

October joblessness in Georgia was well below the national unemployment rate of 4.6% and slightly below September’s 3.3%.

“We have seen continuous job growth this year as we have gained back 90% of the jobs lost during the pandemic,” state Commissioner of Labor Mark Butler said.

“The continual increase in employment opportunity, particularly in those areas hardest hit by the pandemic, reinforces the critical need for encouraging available Georgians back into the workforce.”

Jobs in Georgia have increased by 117,400 since last May, and October’s growth of 21,000 jobs marks only the fifth time since 1990 that over-the-month job growth for that month exceeded 20,000.

The administrative and support services, transportation and warehousing, and retail trade job sectors have all recovered the jobs lost during the pandemic and added to their respective totals.

However, sectors including accommodation and food services, local government, and religious, grants, civic, and professional services continue struggling to fill jobs.

Jobs in Georgia were up 21,000 last month and are up 4.5% over the year to more than 4.6 million.

But the labor force remains down 32,000 compared to March of last year, just before the coronavirus pandemic struck Georgia.

The sectors with the most over-the-month job gains in October were transportation and warehousing, which gained 3,600 jobs; retail trade, which gained 3,000 jobs; and the 2,500 jobs gained by the health care and social assistance sector.

First-time unemployment claims last month were down 1,525 from September to 27,310, a 5% decline. For the year, initial claims fell by 86%.

More than 208,000 job openings are posted online at Employ Georgia for Georgians to access. Market salaries range from $23,000 to $103,000 with a median salary of $42,000.

“The GDOL is working to ensure that every Georgian who wants a job can find a job,” Butler said. “Our Business Services Unit is helping the state’s employers find employees that meet their business needs, and we are scheduling in-person appointments across the state in our career centers to make sure jobseekers have the support they need to successfully find employment.”

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.

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