Georgia's jobless rate has dropped to a three-year low.
Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said Thursday morning the state's February seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined for the seventh consecutive month to 9.1 percent.
That's the lowest rate since March 2009, when it was also 9.1 percent. It’s also a drop of 0.1 percent from January. A year ago, the rate was 9.9 percent.
Butler said February's economic data is encouraging.
“I’ve said in the past, when we had a couple months of declines, that’s good news but I wouldn’t call that a trend,” Butler said. “After two quarters and one month, it looks like Georgia is definitely on the road to recovery, and I would definitely call that a trend.”
Butler said manufacturing in Georgia has been hit hard by the recession but is now one of the sectors growing.
“If you look at the last 14 months, 10 of those months saw job growth in manufacturing, which is a very positive sign. This is in durable goods, which means that consumers are out there buying, and manufacturing is doing quite well in Georgia,” he said.
The labor department reported the state saw 15,600 new jobs along with fewer layoffs.
In February, the number of first-time unemployment claims also dropped to the lowest number since June 2008. The number of claims fell 40 percent.