Georgia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined for the third straight month in December, falling to 9.7 percent.
Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the new number is a one-tenth of a percentage point decline from a revised 9.8 percent in November, making it the largest two-month decrease in unemployment since 1977.
Butler said the unemployment rate dropped because 11,500 Georgians went back to work in December. Also, he said the state saw some employment gains in areas that had been especially hard-hit by the rugged economy.
“[It’s positive] just seeing the growth in areas like construction and manufacturing, in areas that we have seen nothing but declines,” Butler said. “[In] construction, for example, this is the first time we’ve seen this type of gain since 2003.”
The numbers were not universally positive; the overall number of jobs dropped by more than 7,000, which Butler attributed to temporary holiday jobs ending.
The jobless rate was 10.4 percent in December a year ago.