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Jeff Humphreys
Jeff Humphreys

Georgia's June jobless rate of 6.1 percent is a seven-year best for the state. But the rate came during a weak hiring month, meaning that it could reflect a shrinking of the state's workforce instead of an uptick in jobs.

To make sense of this, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution turned to Jeff Humphreys, director of the Selig Center for Economic Growth at Terry.

Georgia’s unemployment rate was consistently lower than the national rate during the boom times of the 1980s and 1990s, but it has now been higher for eight consecutive years.

 Humphreys chalked that up to the economic damage done by the housing crash and the sluggish recovery that followed.

“I am not concerned about that at all,” Humphreys said. “It doesn’t say that much about what we are going through. It is more a sign of where we have been.”

Most important, he said, is that job growth has been strong.

“I think this reflects a good hard push at traditional economic development,” Humphreys said. “The state has recruited a lot of companies the past four or five years and it is starting to show up in the job numbers.”

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