Good news on the job front Thursday morning: Georgia’s unemployment rate is looking better and back on the decline. The Labor Department pegged the current number of jobless claims at around 281,000, down by 15,000.

Washington experienced modest job growth in June, resulting in a 5.3 percent unemployment rate for the month, on a preliminary, seasonally adjusted basis, according to estimates by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

After reporting increases in first-time claims for US unemployment benefits in each of the three previous weeks, the Labor Department released a report on Thursday showing that initial jobless claims pulled back by more than expected in the week ended July 11th. The latest data shows that the four-week moving average climbed higher to 282,500 from 279,250 in the prior week. That’s the lowest in seven years. Many people receiving benefits have used up all their aid, though some have likely found jobs. Continuing claims, which are reported with a week’s lag came down 112,000 to 2,215,000.

Yet despite the unusually low level of claims, the United States labor market still hasn’t fully recovered from the devastation caused by the Great Recession.

The unemployment rate was 6.1 percent, down from 6.3 in May.

Weekly unemployment claims can be volatile, particularly in July, when auto makers shut down factories temporarily for retooling.

“As we look at the over-the-year picture, our employers created 106,000 jobs since June of last year”, said Butler. But in June, the labor force declined, 0.2 percent. This movement out of the job market was unexpected but it reflects what happened this month at the national level.