Pierce County’s estimated unemployment rose a tenth in February to 2.9%. It marks the third straight month the rate has risen.

Still, labor experts say the job market looks good and unemployment rates are near historic lows. Pierce’s increase in the unemployment rate has been very low.

The economy continues a steady, if uneven, recovery  from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Thanks to the hard work of many Georgians, February saw gains in jobs, labor force, and the number of employed for much of the state. As we look towards the spring and summer months, we remain committed to working with employers as they continue to fill open positions with suitable job seekers,” said State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler.

Pierce County’s rate is down by over 5% compared to the height of the pandemic in the spring of 2020. Pierce County recorded an 8.4% unemployment rate in April 2020 at the peak of the shelter in place order caused by the virus and before businesses reopened.

February’s unemployment rate is almost a full point lower than the 3.7% rate reported in February 2020.

According to Department of Labor statistics, Pierce County has a labor force of 8,563 with 8,315 employed. The number of those listed as unemployed was 248, up by eight compared to January.

In the Southern Georgia region, the unemployment rate was 3.3%, unchanged from January. A year ago, the rate was 4.5%.

In addition to Pierce, the 18-county South Georgia region includes Atkinson, Bacon, Ben Hill, Berrien, Brantley, Brooks, Charlton, Clinch, Coffee, Cook, Echols, Irwin, Lanier, Lowndes, Tift, Turner and Ware.

Statewide, the unemployment rate was 3.2% in February, unchanged from January adjusted rate and down 1.4% from this time last year and over 9 % from April 2020’s peak of 12.5% unemployment.

Employ Georgia, the GDOL’s online job listing service at employgeorgia.com showed about 1,430 active job postings in Southern Georgia.