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Ga. jobless rate unchanged at 5.5 percent in January

3/17/2017, 6 a.m.

The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.5 percent in January, unchanged from a revised 5.5 percent in December.

Previously, the December rate was reported at 5.4 percent. In January 2016, the unemployment rate was 5.6 percent.

In DeKalb County, there were 2,435 initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits in January, up 208 or 9.3 percent from 2,227 in December 2016. In January 2016, there were 2,619 initial claims for an over-the-year decrease of 184 or 7 percent.

State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said Georgia’s employers are still creating jobs.

“While the rate was unchanged, our employers continued to create jobs, our labor force continued to grow and more people went to work,” Butler said in a March 9 statement. “This is a good way to start off a new year.”

Statewide, the number of jobs increased by 6,500, or 0.1 percent, to 4,442,200. The increase is nearly twice the average December-to-January growth for the previous three years.

Job gains came in financial activities, 4,300; leisure and hospitality, 4,200; trade, transportation and warehousing, 3,700; government, 1,600; manufacturing, 1,100; and construction, 900. The job gains were offset somewhat by losses in professional and business services, 7,700; education and health services, 1,100; and other services such as repair, maintenance, laundry and personal services, 1,000.

Over the year, 114,700 jobs were added, a 2.7 percent growth rate, up from 4,327,500 in January 2016. The national growth rate was 1.6 percent. Job gains in Georgia came across the board in all major employment sectors, including leisure and hospitality, 26,100; professional and business services, 19,300; trade, transportation and warehousing, 18,500; education and health services, 15,600; government, 11,300; financial activities, 8,300; construction, 7,100; and manufacturing, 6,800.

The labor force grew by 15,961 to 4,998,652 in January. During that time, the number of employed workers increased by 13,768 to 4,722,525. The labor force consists of employed residents and those who are unemployed but actively looking for jobs. Over the year, the labor force grew by 141,753, and the number of employed increased by 136,066.

The number of initial claims for unemployment insurance rose by 17,161, or 52.7 percent, to 49,718 in January in the state. The large increase is a normal seasonal occurrence for January. Nearly half of all claims filed were temporary and most came in manufacturing and administrative and support services.

Over the year, claims were down by 4,502, or 8.3 percent, from 54,220 in January 2016, with manufacturing, construction and administrative and support services accounting for most of the decline.

The Georgia Department of Labor’s online job listing service at Employgeorgia.com showed 64,018 new job postings statewide for January.