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Thursday, May 16, 2013 - 12:33pm

Tourism Leads Georgia Job Growth

State labor officials reported an 8.2% April jobless rate.

That's down 0.2% of a point from March and a full point from April of last year.

The hospitality industry led the job growth in Georgia with a monthly gain of 10,000 jobs.

Jon Watkins of Old Town Trolley says leisure jobs are growing because people want to travel.

"They're not afraid to spend the money even though the economy's been down," Watkins says. "Our business, year over year, has been up even though the economy has not been in great condition."

Hundreds of job-seekers came in from a variety of fields to attend a career expo held at Savannah Technical College.

Career expo attendee Gina Donovan of Holiday Inn Express says the hospitality industry is booming.

"It's really the business to be in because it's just bustling right now with all of the travel that's going on," Donovan says. "So, I think a lot of people see that and want to be apart of it."

The event was organized by the Georgia Department of Labor.

The agency's Mel Wages says Savannah's number one industry is tourism.

"I think the hospitality industry is one of those industries where you can start out in an entry-level position no matter what your education level is," Wages says. "They have training programs that are in place where you can move up the ladder."

The April numbers also show the biggest year-to-year declines in government jobs.