Unemployment last month fell to the lowest level in nearly four and a half years in Georgia, but the jobless rate rose for the third consecutive month in neighboring Tennessee.
Georgia's jobless rate fell by two-tenths of a percent in March to 8.4 percent. Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said March was one of the best months for job growth in nearly a decade and the state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was the lowest since December 2008.
"The growth was in several industries, led by leisure and hospitality and professional and business services," Butler said.
Despite a gain of 23,700 jobs last month, however, the Peach State still had a higher unemployment level last month than most other states. The comparable U.S. jobless rate in March averaged 7.6 percent.
In Tennessee, the unemployment rate rose another tenth of a percent to 7.9 percent after the Volunteer State shed 6,600 jobs. Nonetheless, Tennessee's March rate was still the lowest for March since before the recession in 2008.
In the past year, employment grew by 1.9 percent in Georgia and by 0.4 percent in Tennessee, according to state employment figures released Thursday. Both states continued to have higher jobless rates than the U.S. as a whole, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development also reported Thursday that the average manufacturing worker in Tennessee was paid $709.24 a week in March, or $11.60 more than in February. But the typical Tennessee factory worker still earned $94.16 less than the national average in March.