Georgia's unemployment rate hits new low

Georgia’s unemployment rate dropped for the 12th consecutive month to 2.6%, another record-breaking low for the state

Per Washington Examiner:

Georgia’s unemployment rate dropped for the 12th consecutive month to 2.6%, another record-breaking low for the state, Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler announced.

Butler attributed the workforce’s recovery to the state’s “economic strategies” that drove more Georgians back to work.

“Making critical decisions early in the pandemic has allowed us to get Georgians back to work quicker and allow business owners to provide the goods and services Georgia needed for our economy to rapidly recover,” Butler said. “We are grateful for leadership that limited restrictions on businesses and avoided the steep job losses seen in other states.”

Georgia’s unemployment rate was 5.6% in December 2020. The state also has hit an all-time high for the number of people employed; 5.04 million people were employed in December, reflecting a more than 14,000 increase from November.

The number of unemployed people was down more than 10,300 to 135,906, the lowest figure since January 1980. Initial unemployment claims were down 86% year over year, the lowest monthly total since June 1974.

Gov. Brian Kemp lifted COVID-19 restrictions on most businesses and ended shutdowns before most states. The governor credited doing so for the state’s positive unemployment rate.

“While some criticized our decision to open as quickly as was safe to do so, we chose to put the lives and livelihoods of our citizens first,” Kemp said in a statement. “Now, our unemployment rate remains significantly lower than the rates of our critics, over 97% of Georgia jobs lost due to the pandemic have been regained, and our economy shows no signs of slowing down.”

Some states that imposed stricter restrictions have unemployment rates that are more than double Georgia’s rate. Nevada is still under an indoor mask mandate in most counties and ranked 50th nationally with an unemployment rate of 6.8% in November.

Kemp and Butler also decided to end pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits for Georgians three months before the federal cut-off date.

“Making critical decisions early in the pandemic has allowed us to get Georgians back to work quicker and allow business owners to provide the goods and services Georgia needed for our economy to rapidly recover,” Butler said. “We are grateful for leadership that limited restrictions on businesses and avoided the steep job losses seen in other states.”