Unemployment in Georgia fell to its lowest level in more than 17 years last month, dipping below the national average jobless rate for the first time since before the Great Recession hit in 2007.
The Georgia Department of Labor said today that unemployment across the Peach State declined by another tenth of a percent in August to 3.8 percent, approaching the state's record low of 3.4 percent, set in 2000. August's jobless rate was the lowest in Georgia since June 2001.
The U.S. jobless rate last month was 3.9 percent. August marked the first time in 11 years that Georgia, which was hit harder than most states by the Great Recession because of its dependence upon construction, home building and real estate, had unemployment below the national rate.
In August, Georgia hit a record high of 4.96 million employed residents. Over the past year, Georgia employers have added a net 115,000 jobs across the state, outpacing the 82,000 additional workers who entered the labor market over the past 12 months.
"This is a true milestone for us," Georgia Labor Commission Mark Butler said in a statement today. "As a state that's seen its workforce expand very quickly, it should be hard for us to drive the unemployment rate down so low. However, we have been employing new workers as fast as we have been adding them. These numbers show how dynamic our economy has been and continues to be."
Over the past year, Georgia has added more than 10,000 jobs in trade, transportation and utilities, education and health services, construction, professional and business services, and leisure and hospitality.
Construction in particular is continuing to have a very strong year, seeing growth of 10 percent over the year.
"When you see that big of a jump in construction jobs over the year, that points to a strong economy," said Butler.
The number of jobless claims filed in Georgia last month totaled 21,182, down 11 percent from the same time a year ago.