New Job Growth Record in Metro Atlanta Helps Lower March Jobless Rate to 4.6%

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) announced today that Metro Atlanta’s unemployment rate in March was 4.6 percent, down three-tenths of a percentage point from 4.9 percent in February. In March 2016, the rate was 5.1 percent.

The lower rate is the result of more people becoming employed, as employers continued to create jobs at a strong pace and lay off fewer workers. 

The number of employed residents increased by 13,411 to 2,870,881, as the labor force grew by 6,185 to 3,010,116. The labor force consists of employed residents and those who are unemployed, but actively looking for jobs. The labor force grew by 95,800 since March 2016.

Employers added 9,800 jobs in March, which pushed the total job count to 2,726,000. The new job growth helped the Atlanta area set a new over-the-year job creation record. A total of 103,100 jobs were added, a 3.9 percent growth rate, since March 2016, which is the largest March-to-March job growth on record.

The February-to-March growth was much stronger than the 7,400 jobs created from the same period last year. Most of the job growth this year came in leisure and hospitality, 3,900; construction, 2,700; professional and business services, 1,800; information services, 1,100; trade, transportation and warehousing, along with government, 800 each, and financial activities, 400. The job gains were offset somewhat by a loss of 800 jobs in manufacturing, 500 in education and health services, and 400 in other services such as personal and laundry services.

Over-the-year job increases came across the board in all major employment sectors. A total of 103,100 jobs were added, a 3.9 percent growth rate, up from 2,622,900, in March 2016. The 12-month increase is the largest March-to-March job growth since 1990. Job growth came in professional and business services, 26,800; leisure and hospitality, 17,600; trade, transportation and warehousing, 13,200; education and health services, 11,900; construction, 9,400; financial activities, 8,300; government, 7,700; information services, 6,600; and manufacturing, 1,200.

The number of initial claims for unemployment insurance, a measure of new layoffs, declined by 134, or 1.1 percent, to 12,047. Most of the decrease came in wholesale trade. Over the year, claims were down by 988, or 7.6 percent, from 13,035 in March 2016.

Metro Gainesville had the lowest area jobless rate at 4 percent, while the River Valley region had the highest at 6.1 percent.

Meanwhile, Georgia’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for March was 5.1 percent, down from 5.3 percent in February. It was 5.5 percent in March 2016.

Job seekers and employers are encouraged to use GDOL’s online job listing service to search for jobs or recruit new employees. In March, 57,066 new job openings in Atlanta were posted on Employ Georgia. Throughout the state, 85,055 new job openings were posted.