Georgia jobless rate falls to 9 % in March

Georgia jobless rate falls to 9 % in March

April 19th, 2012 by Dave Flessner in Local - Breaking News

In this March 3, 2012 photo, George's restaurant employee David Lopez works on filling a customers order, in Waco, Texas. Fewer people sought unemployment benefits last week, adding to signs that the job market is strengthening. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Unemployment in Georgia fell last month to the lowest level in more than three years, although the jobless rate during March in the Peach State remained well above the national average.

The Georgia Department of Labor said today employers added 35,600 jobs in Georgia over the past year, lowering the state's unemployment rate from 9.8 percent in March 2011 to 9 percent last month.

Georgia's jobless rate has declined for eight straight months and is now the lowest since February 2009 when it was 8.9 percent.

"Georgia's unemployment rate continues to trend downward and it's important to recognize that it's done so as the number of people in the labor force steadily increased," Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said in a statement today. "This indicates a growing optimism among unemployed workers that they will be able to land a job."

The number of jobs in Georgia from February to March increased 13,900 to nearly 3.9 million.

The number of first-time claims for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits declined in March to 42,676, down 3,650, or 7.9 percent, from 46,326 in February.

The number of new layoffs last month was the lowest since March 2008, Butler said.