State Unemployment Rate Falls Again

For the eighth time in as many months, Georgia's unemployment rate has dropped.

The state's Department of Labor reports it was 7.1% in February.

That's down two-tenths of a point from January and nearly a point-and-a-half from February 2013.

However, a declining unemployment rate doesn't necessarily provide a clear sign that Georgia's economy is getting better.

Local economic analysts say although there has been a boost in jobs, many companies have been hiring at a slower pace compared to previous months.

"And that is what matters for the middle class, for the kids graduating, is the availability of well-paying jobs and they are in short supply, says Dr. Rajeev Dhawan, the director of Georgia State University's Economic Forecasting Center.

External matters, including those outside of the country, could also play havoc with Georgia's economy.

"It's still possible that we'll have a mistake in either federal, fiscal policy or federal monetary policy.  It's still possible we'll have an oil price shock or instability in the Middle East.  It's still possible that we could have a financial panic possibly related to what is going on in the Ukraine," says Dr. Jeff Humphreys, the director of the University of Georgia's Simon Selig Center for Economic Growth.

State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler says nearly 7,000 jobs were created in Georgia last month.  

Among the fields seeing a boost in employment opportunities: professional and business services, construction and education and health services.

Despite that boost, Georgia's unemployment rate is still above the national average, which is 6.7%