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The Northwest Georgia job market is improving but we still have a way to go to get back to where we were before COVID-19 hit.

Statewide, unemployment in Georgia fell by 2 percentage points last month to 5.6%, the state Department of Labor reported Thursday, Sept. 17. That’s well below the national unemployment rate for August of 8.4% and less than half the 12.6% state jobless rate back in April.

“We anticipated a drop in the unemployment rate, as we have seen many businesses reengaging in the economy and bringing employees back to work,” Georgia Commissioner of Labor Mark Butler said.

Chattooga County reported 148 initial unemployment claims in August, down from 285 in July but up from 32 in August of last year.

From March 21 through the end of last week, the labor department has processed nearly 3.7 million first-time unemployment claims, more than the last eight years combined.