by T.A. DeFeo
New economic data shows Georgia is outperforming many other states across the country.
Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate now stands at a record low of 2.8% in July. A new WalletHub analysis found that Georgia has the 15th best change in its unemployment rate.
“This is mostly because the number of unemployed people in July was lower by over 18% compared to July 2019, which is one of the biggest drops in the country,” WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez told The Center Square. “Plus, the state’s unemployment rate is 2.8%, significantly lower than the national average of 3.5%. This is a strong indication that Georgia’s job market has recovered from the effects of the pandemic.”
Minnesota saw the best change in unemployment, while the District of Columbia reported the worst change, according to WalletHub. Nationwide, 18 states have recovered all their jobs lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, a Georgia non-profit is crediting Georgia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic for its economic standing.
“While the White House is taking credit for the job recovery, the credit really belongs to just 18 states — and Georgia is among them,” Erik Randolph, director of research for the Georgia Center for Opportunity, said in a statement. “These states are the only ones who have recovered all their jobs lost to COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns.
“They tend to be doing a better job at promoting free economies, and the data show they are predominantly but not exclusively Republican-led states,” Randolph added. “In contrast, tighter control states that shut down their economies more severely during the COVID-19 pandemic — such as California and New York — are struggling to recover, creating a drag on the national count.”
On Thursday, Georgia officials said all Regional Commissions saw a drop in their unemployment rates in July. The state’s non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 2.9%, down from 3.3% in June and from 4% in July 2021.
“This summer, we have seen unemployment rates drop while job numbers have climbed,” Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said in an announcement. “As employers have worked to fill positions with the most qualified people, job seekers have taken advantage of the wide range of employment opportunities with more benefits and flexibility than ever before.”
While the nation has recovered the number of jobs, it has not recovered the number of people employed, Randolph said. This resulted in the double counting of people with more than one job.
“The economy is missing more than half a million workers who were in the labor force prior to the pandemic,” Randolph said. “We have more workers on the sidelines than ever before. This isn’t good for both businesses and the workers themselves.
“This loss in labor force participation is a warning signal that the low unemployment rates are misleading,” Randolph added. “Policymakers need to be focusing on how to create opportunities to help these workers come off the sidelines.
“We believe the most successful strategies will involve lowering barriers to employment, plus business creation and expansion as well as allowing more choice and competition in education and training so workers and future workers will have the skills actually needed for real employment opportunities.”
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