Georgia’s unemployment rate dropped to another record low last month, while the state’s all-time high workforce is larger than it was before the coronavirus pandemic.

The state’s unemployment rate fell to 2.8% in November, well below the national jobless rate of 4.2%, the Georgia Department of Labor reported Thursday. At the same time, more than 5 million Georgians held jobs.

Georgia Commissioner of Labor Mark Butler.

“We have fully recovered from this pandemic when it comes to employed Georgians,” Georgia Commissioner of Labor Mark Butler said. “The hard work is still in front of us as job creation is outpacing new workers in the labor force.”

Jobs in Georgia were up 13,500 over the month and are up 4.4% over the year to more than 4.6 million. During the last six months, the number of jobs has increased by 130,600. 

“We have regained almost all of the jobs we lost during the pandemic,” Butler said. “However, the number of job seekers is still below pre-pandemic numbers.

“Creating more jobs becomes very difficult if we can’t fill vacancies in the 300,000 jobs that are currently open. It’s a good problem to have and shows how strong Georgia’s recovery has been, especially compared to other states our size.”

Job sectors with the most over-the-month job gains included transportation and warehousing, which gained 4,300 jobs; non-durable goods manufacturing, which was up 2,300 jobs; and accommodation and food services, which gained 2,200 jobs in November after being decimated during the pandemic.

First-time unemployment claims declined last month by 10,116 to 17,194, a 37% decrease and the first time since November 2019 that initial claims fell below the 20,000 plateau.

More than 190,000 job openings are posted at EmployGeorgia.com, the labor department’s website.

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.

Dave Williams | Capitol Beat

Dave Williams is the Bureau Chief of Capitol Beat News Service.