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Georgia unemployment rate dips to record low, with number of employed workers highest since pandemic began

The state said its unemployment rate dropped to 3.2% this week.

ATLANTA — Georgia's unemployment rate reached its lowest-ever level, the state said this week, while the number of employed workers is also at its highest since the pandemic began.

The Georgia Department of Labor said the unemployment rate dropped to 3.2%, while the total number of employed workers surpassed 5 million for the first time in nearly two years.

The unemployment rate can be at a record low even though the aggregate number of workers is not at a record high because the overall labor force has shrunk during the pandemic. The DoL said the total labor force remains down by 37,000 since the start of the pandemic.

RELATED: US unemployment claims fall to new pandemic low of 290,000

Unemployment rates are calculated as a percentage of people considered part of the work force actively searching for unemployment who cannot find it. If they stop searching, they're no longer counted. This is how the national unemployment rate is calculated, as well.

In September, Georgia said more than 7,700 workers found jobs while 6,000 dropped out of the labor force, resulting in a nearly 14,000 decrease in the number of residents officially considered unemployed.

On Twitter, Gov. Brian Kemp touted the state's latest figures and said, "While Democrats wanted to keep our state in lockdown, we followed the science and trusted hardworking Georgians to do the right  thing. Now, Georgia's unemployment rate is at a RECORD low, dropping for 16 straight months. Georgia is open for business!"

Georgia ranks ninth in unemployment following September's data, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Georgia DoL Commissioner Mark Butler said the data indicated "excellent progress for Georgia" and "shows the state's economy is rapidly recovering."

“Today, we have 193,739 jobs posted on Employ Georgia, resulting in a minimum of 308,106 unfilled positions,” Butler said in a statement. "This is almost twice the number of available jobs than we have people currently looking for employment. This is the main factor effecting job growth as employers across the state continue to struggle to fill vacant positions.”