Remember when some of us said Georgia’s rising unemployment rate didn’t align with other economic data and wasn’t something to be overly worried about?
That’s almost a full percentage-point drop in just three months, from what looks more and more like a statistical anomaly. (No, that’s not at all the same thing as saying the numbers were manipulated somehow.)
The underlying data continue to look good. The number of Georgians out of work is at its lowest point since April, down 4 percent from November 2013. Even better, the number of long-term unemployed is down 17 percent during those 12 months.
Net non-farm payrolls are up by almost 99,000 over the past year. That’s almost all in the private sector, although government jobs are up slightly as well. Construction and manufacturing jobs, two particularly important sectors in Georgia, both grew by more than 2 percent over the past year.
Jason Carter’s campaign tried to make this year’s election a referendum on the economy under Gov. Nathan Deal — albeit belatedly, and without offering much of an alternative policy agenda. The fact that Deal was re-elected with almost the same share of the vote (52.8 percent) as four years earlier (53 percent) was your first sign the economy wasn’t as bad as the curiously rising jobless figures made it out to be. The rapid fall in the jobless rate of late, back toward the previous, healthy trend, is another.