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December payrolls rise in Georgia as jobless rate stays low

Georgia’s job market stayed strong in December, with employers adding more workers to payrolls and unemployment staying low.

But other numbers continue to show a shrinking labor force, and rapid job growth seen in early 2022 has ebbed, showing an economy that has plateaued.

The state’s unemployment rate was steady from November to December at 3%. That’s down from 3.3% a year ago, but up from the all-time low of 2.8% in the late summer.

The labor force fell for the sixth month in a row, while the number of people reporting they had a job fell for the fifth month. The number of Georgians unemployed and seeking work inched up to 157,000.

The number of workers on employer payrolls — the top labor market measure for many economists — rose by 10,000 from November at 4.84 million. That’s 165,000 above payroll levels last year.

Payrolls are measured by a survey of employers, separate from the survey of individuals.

The state released the figures Thursday. They are adjusted to cancel out seasonal fluctuations.

The nationwide unemployment rate fell to 3.5% in December from 3.6% in November. That’s down from 3.9% a year ago.

About 9,600 Georgia workers filed for new unemployment benefits in the week that ended Jan. 14.

The overall number of people collecting state unemployment was about 29,000 in the week that ended Jan. 7.

Associated Press