Georgia Department of Transportation

Georgia Department of Transportation workers hand tie new rebar on an overpass bridge. 

(The Center Square) — Georgia reported one of the best changes in its unemployment rate of any state in the union, a new analysis found.

According to the report from WalletHub, Georgia has the 15th best change in unemployment. That trailed neighboring Florida (No. 6) and Alabama (12) but was better than South Carolina (28), Tennessee (32) and North Carolina (35).

The ranking, from WalletHub, comes as the nation could soon be in a recession — if it is not already in one.

"The state has experienced an almost 18% drop in the number of unemployed people compared to September 2019, before the pandemic," WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez told The Center Square. "This is among the biggest decreases in the country.

"Right now, Georgia’s unemployment rate is 2.8%, significantly lower than the 3.5% national average," Gonzalez added. "Overall this is a sign that the state’s economy has recovered from the effects of the pandemic."

Last week, Georgia labor officials said the number of jobs in The Peach State continued to increase, though the number of employed Georgians declined.

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Georgia’s seasonally adjusted labor participation rate stood at 62.1% in August and dropped from 69.1% in January 2000 and 68.7% in August 2008. Since 2009, the state’s labor participation rate has hit 66% in March, April and May 2009, dropping to 59.4% in September 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler noted that Georgia ranked 15th over the month and fourth over the year in the percentage change in employment. New Jersey was 33rd over the month and 11th over the year, while Texas was No. 1 over the month and year.

"Only looking at a state’s unemployment rate does not give a very good picture of what is happening economically, especially when it comes to jobs and, most importantly, people actually becoming employed," Butler told The Center Square. "When you look at increases in actual employment, the number one state in the article, New Jersey, when compared to Georgia at number 15, looks a little different with Georgia outranking New Jersey in both percentage change in employment over the month and over the year."