Valdosta jobless rate drops in May

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VALDOSTA — Metro Valdosta’s high unemployment rate in April dropped a bit in May, according to government statistics.

The Azalea City’s May jobless rate was 7.7%, down 2.1 percentage points from April’s level of 9.8%, according to a statement Thursday from the Georgia Department of Labor. A year ago, the city’s jobless rate was 3.2%.

“The fact that almost every single monthly indicator in May’s job market report was positive shows great promise to Georgia’s economy up ahead,” Commissioner of Labor Mark Butler said in a statement. “Seeing these monthly numbers begin to increase means that we are definitely heading back in the right direction.”  

Valdosta, like the rest of Georgia and nation, had seen its jobless level skyrocket due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The fact that almost every single monthly indicator in May’s job market report was positive shows great promise to Georgia’s economy up ahead,” Butler said. “Seeing these monthly numbers begin to increase means that we are definitely heading back in the right direction.”  

Valdosta ended May with 53,400 jobs. That number increased by 1,300 from April to May but was down by 3,000 when compared to this time last year, according to the statement. 

The labor force increased in May by 1,178 and ended the month with 61,702. That number is down 1,174 when compared to May 2019. 

Valdosta finished the month with 56,926 employed residents. That number increased by 2,349 during the month but is down by 4,439 when compared to the same time a year ago, according to the statement. 

The number of unemployment claims went down by 35% in May to 9,546.

Statewide, the state labor department processed more than 2.7 million regular initial claims in the past 14 weeks, more than the last seven years combined. 

Terry Richards is senior reporter at The Valdosta Daily Times.

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