Initial claims for unemployment insurance dropped in September, in both Bartow County and Georgia, according to the Georgia Department of Labor.
Forty-nine fewer residents made a first claim in September than in August, representing a 9.6 percent decrease. Since September of last year, 280 fewer initial claims represent nearly a 40 percent drop.
In the state, initial claims in September declined 13.5 percent—the fewest filed since September 2007. Most of the decline came in administrative and support services, retail trade, health care and social assistance, educational services, and accommodations and food services.
Georgia’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate also declined two-tenths of a percentage point to 9 percent in September, down from 9.2 percent in August and 9.8 percent in September a year ago, according to the release.
Bartow County's preliminary August rate was 9.3 percent, down from 9.5 percent a month earlier and 10 percent a year earlier.
"The unemployment rate dropped in September because Georgia had the fewest new claims for unemployment insurance benefits in five years, since before the start of the Great Recession," State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said in the release.
While the state lost 400 jobs from August to September, it actually gained 61,800 jobs since the 3,877,600 in September of 2011, climbing to 3,939,400. The growth sectors were professional and business services, up 23,500; trade, transportation, and warehousing, up 23,100; education and health care, up 13,000; leisure and hospitality, up 9,100; manufacturing, up 8,700; and technology, up 1,100.
Butler is especially pleased with the improvement in the state’s manufacturing industry.
"We’re continuing to see gains in manufacturing and a lot of the credit for that goes to the great job the state’s Department of Economic Development and Governor Deal have been doing, not only in attracting new manufacturers, but helping to hold on to the ones that we have," Butler said. "Last month’s gain in manufacturing jobs was the largest over-the-month gain that we’ve seen for this time period since 1994."
The number of manufacturing jobs from August to September grew 1,900. The August to September growth in 1994 was 2,000.
Another positive sign is the growth in Georgia’s labor force, which climbed to 4,777,977 in September, up by 18,126, or four-tenths of a percentage point, from 4,759,851 in August. The state’s workforce totaled 4,731,276 in September 2011.
The number of long-term unemployed workers declined for the fifth consecutive month, dropping 8,400 from August to 208,800 in September, the fewest since 204,700 were recorded in March 2010. The long-term unemployed, those out of work for more than 26 weeks, make up 48.6 percent of those unemployed in Georgia, the lowest percent in two years.