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Posted: April 18, 2011 1:36 p.m.

Good news: More jobs, less unemployment in Georgia

The Georgia Department of Labor today reported that the number of jobs available in the state increased in March for a second consecutive month while the jobless rate for the month fell .2 percent to 10 percent.

There were 3,812,700 payroll jobs in March, up 15,600, or .4 percent, from 3,797,100 in February. Leisure and hospitality industries accounted for 60 percent of the new jobs, including 7,000 at eating and drinking establishments. Jobs were also added in manufacturing, the wholesale of electronic equipment, the design of computer systems, transportation and warehousing, educational services, and administrative and support services.

"The drop in the unemployment rate is encouraging, but I'm more pleased that we've now had two consecutive months of job growth, coupled with fewer layoffs," according to a statement in a release from Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. "It appears that employers are growing more confident that our economy is improving."

Initial unemployment claims were filed by 50,331 laid-off workers in March, a decrease of 5,245, or 9.4 percent, from 55,576 in February. Most of the first-time claims were filed in manufacturing, trade, administrative and support services, and construction.

The Labor Department reported that 261,500 Georgians in March had been out of work for 27 weeks or longer. That's  an increase of 56,800, or 27.7 percent, from 204,700 in March 2010, but a decrease of 1,700, or six-tenths of a percentage point, from 263,200 in February. The last time long-term unemployment declined over the month was in August 2010. The long-term unemployed account for a record-high 55.7 percent of the 469,103 jobless workers in Georgia.

March marked the 42nd consecutive month Georgia has exceeded the national unemployment rate, which is currently 8.8 percent.

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