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Georgia's unemployment rate falls to new all-time low

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ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia's unemployment rate fell for the 18th month in a row in October, dipping to a new all-time low of 3.1%.

The unemployment rate had been 3.3% in September, falling from 5.9% in October 2020. The jobless rate has fallen every month since hitting an all-time high of 12.5% at the start of the pandemic in April 2020.

The state's previous all-time low unemployment rate, since the current survey began in 1973, was 3.3%. That floor, in addition to being hit in September, was also reached in January 2020.

The number of unemployed Georgians fell to about 158,000 in October as more people found jobs. The labor force was basically stagnant. Despite a high demand for labor, surveys show few new people have begun looking for jobs in Georgia since April.

“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," Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler, an elected Republican, said in a statement.

Employer payrolls — the top labor market measure for many economists — rose by a strong 21,000 in Georgia in October, reaching 4.61 million. That's 197,000 above payroll levels last year.

Payrolls remain 1.3% below their pre-pandemic peak.

Nationwide, nonfarm payroll employment grew by a strong 531,000 in October. The nationwide jobless rate fell to 4.6% in October from 4.8% in September.

The Georgia Department of Labor released the job figures Thursday. They were adjusted to cancel out seasonal changes.

About 4,000 Georgia workers filed for new unemployment benefits in the week ended Nov. 13. New unemployment filings have fallen to pre-pandemic levels in the state.

The overall number of people collecting regular state unemployment was about 32,000 in the week ended Nov. 6. That number is nearing pre-pandemic levels.

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