Wednesday, January 3, 2001

Fayette County now boasts the second lowest unemployment rate in the region.

In figures released last week, the county's rate dropped from 2 percent in October to 1.4 percent in November. Only Forsyth County with an unemployment rate of 1 percent has a lower rate than Fayette in the Atlanta region.

State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond said last week that the unemployment rate in the 20-county metro Atlanta area declined to 2.3 percent in November, down from 3 percent in October. The area's jobless rate was 2.7 percent in November 1999.

Georgia's statewide unemployment rate declined to 2.9 percent in November, the lowest monthly rate ever recorded by the Labor Department. By comparison, the rate was down from 3.7 percent in October and from 3.4 percent in November of 1999.

"This record-low unemployment is due largely to the underlying strength of our economy and the hiring of seasonal workers for the holiday shopping season," said Thurmond. "Because of continuing low unemployment and the shortage of skilled workers, some employers are having a difficult time finding enough employees."

Despite good news on the unemployment front, Thurmond remains concerned about a prolonged slowdown in job growth here in Georgia and the nation a slowdown that may be masked by the increased hiring of seasonal workers for the holidays.

Georgia added 18,900 new jobs during November, bringing its total to 4,035,500. However, the latest figures from the Labor Department show a slowing in the state's annualized job growth rate over the past nine months. The annualized job growth rate has declined from 4.2 percent in March to 1.5 percent in November, a drop of 64 percent. In absolute numbers, 161,400 jobs were added between March 1999 and March 2000, while only 58,700 were added between November 1999 and November 2000.

Labor market data is now available on the Georgia Department of Labor's Web site at

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