Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said Thursday that the state opened 2019 by setting a series of records.

In the two-month cycle of January and February, Georgia posted gains in jobs, labor force and employed residents. Records were posted in all three areas during the cycle.

“We’re only two months into the year,” Butler said, “but we started 2019 strong. During what is normally a slow period for Georgia we gained more than 10,000 jobs and boosted the labor force by about 7,000. Those are solid gains.”

Overall, Georgia ended February with 4.6 million jobs. That’s an increase of about 97,100 from the job total as of a year ago.

Georgia also posted record totals for jobs in:

  • trade, transportation and utilities, 959,800,
  • professional and business services, education, 710,400, and
  • leisure and hospitality, 502,500.

Construction posted its highest number since May 2008.

“To see these gains across the board is an indication of the strength of Georgia’s economy,” Butler said.

The unemployment rate inched up in early 2019, driven by gains in the workforce. The rate climbed .1 percent in both January and February, settling at 3.9 percent. A year ago, the rate was 4.2 percent.

Nationally, the rate for February was 3.8 percent.

The labor force increased in January by 6,365 and February by another 907. The 5.12 million total is an all-time high for Georgia. That number is up more than 22,000 from the total from February 2018.

Georgia ended February with 4.92 million employed residents. The state inched toward the 5 million mark throughout 2018. The number increased by 1,191 in January and dipped by 629 in February to net at an increase of 562 over the two-month cycle.

Georgia residents filed just under 70,000 claims for unemployment over the two-month period. The numbers for January were up from December by 72 percent and dropped in February by 52 percent. When compared to last February, claims were up by just under 100.

In February, claims were down in manufacturing administrative/support services and trade.

In both January and February, there were about 72,000 statewide listings in EmployGeorgia.com That’s up by about 1 percent.

This is a press release.

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