Unemployment in Athens declined at a record rate in the past year, according to the Georgia Department of Labor.
The November unemployment rate in metro Athens was 4.1 percent, according to the labor department.
The Athens Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Clarke, Oconee, Madison and Oglethorpe counties. Those counties have a combined non-military labor force of 102,660, of which 4,216 were unemployed, according to the state statistics.
The state added 170,267 jobs between November 2016 and November 2017, but only 6,385 of those jobs came in October.
The Athens MSA recorded 742 initial unemployment claims in November 2016 and 271 in November 2017.
In Clarke County, residents filed 484 unemployment claims in November 2016, nearly as many as Bibb County at 490. But in November 2017, just 159 Clarke County residents filed claims.
Statewide, the number of people filing unemployment claims after losing their jobs declined by 11.2 percent, from 27,434 to 24,364, according to state statistics recently released.
The Georgia unemployment rate was 4.3 percent in November, the same as October.
Atlanta, where 60 percent of the state’s labor force lives, had a 4.2 percent unemployment rate in November — 2.9 million working, 127,013 unemployed. The state’s highest November unemployment rates were in the Dalton (5.3 percent), Albany (5.2 percent) and Columbus (5.1 percent) metro areas.
Metro Athens’ unemployment rate matched the national rate of 4.1 percent for both October and November, and was the second-lowest rate of any of Georgia’s metro areas. Gainesville’s unemployment was 3.6 percent in November, according to the labor department.
The metro Athens unemployment rate is the same as the November 2017 national rate of 4.1 percent, the lowest since 2000, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics.
The unemployment declines are the latest chapter in a long economic recovery after the sharp recession of 2008. Unemployment surged to 9.9 percent, its highest since 1982, as President Obama took office in 2009, but has steadily declined since. October marked the 85th consecutive month unemployment has declined, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
That streak could end this month; however, weekly unemployment claim statistics indicate.
Economists attribute much of the decline in unemployment claims to Baby Boomers retiring in addition to job growth.