COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The Georgia unemployment rate d rops to the lowest it has been in more than seven years, and economists with the Department of Labor says it has everything to do with employment.
"May's unemployment rate is the lowest we've had in eight years," said State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. "The rate dropped because more Georgians were working, we had the fewest unemployed workers since the beginning of the recession, and our labor force continued to increase."
Butler said the reasons for the decline in Georgia's rate show a stark contrast to the decrease in the national jobless rate in the same period.
"The big reason for the drop in the national rate had nothing to do with employment or jobs," Butler continued. "It all had to do with the fact that 458,000 people dropped out of the nation's work force and that is not a good reason."
To date, 460,000 people d ropped out of the workforce in the last year, according to the Georgia Department of Labor.
The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) announced today that the state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in May was 5.3 percent, the lowest rate since January 2008, when it was also 5.3 percent. The rate was 5.5 percent in April. It was 5.9 percent in May 2015.
"The lower unemployment rate definitely means the private sector is continuing to hire people and continuing to make investments in our states and our communities," says Murphy.
Although things seem to be getting brighter, the future is unpredictable.
Murphy says the upcoming presidential election will ultimately impact the Federal reserves and recently, more than 2,800 jobs eliminated from Fort Benning, the biggest employer in Columbus, may have a big impact as well.
There was a strong over-the-year increase of 124,600 jobs, up by 2.9 percent from 4,245,900 in May 2015. The national job growth rate for the same period was 1.7 percent.
In the mid 90s more than half of those ages 16 to 19 had summer jobs, but last year, that d ropped to about 32 percent.
"We've seen a lot more people put off retirement. What that means is older people who are much more likely to retire are holding on to jobs much longer and that's providing less opportunities for younger people to fill into those positions, that has a trickle effect," says Murphy.
Despite the decline in labor participation nationally, the Department of Labor reports the number of people employed in Georgia rose by more than 14,000, while the number of unemployed residents fell by more than 10,000 - leveling out at its lowest since December 2007.
"We're hopeful it will stabilize," says Murphy.
According to statistics provided by the Chamber of Commerce, when it comes to Muscogee County the unemployment rate is 6.5 percent. The leading sectors for job postings were health care, social assistance and scientific.
According to the DOL, a great resource for finding employment is employgeorgia.com.
DISCLAIMER: This story has been edited to correct misinformation that was previously reported.