Jobs reportAthens has experienced a net gain of approximately 4,000 jobs over the past year. That translates to an increase of 4.5% since March 2015. The figures come from new employment data released by the Georgia Department of Labor on Thursday.

The new data also revealed that unemployment in the state increased to 5.5% in March. This marks an increase of 0.1% from the month before.

State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said in a press release that even though the unemplyment rate ticked up, March was “really a good month for Georgia’s labor market.”

“Our employers created 12,600 jobs, which is much stronger than the average for the same period over the last three years, and they had fewer lay offs. Our labor force grew by 21,570, bringing the total growth this year to more than 55,000,” Butler said.

The slight bump in the unemployment rate is the first increase since December of 2015. Even with the slight elevation, it’s still well below where it was a year ago. The unemployment rate in Georgia in March 2015 was over 6 percent.

By James C. Thompson

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