The metro Augusta unemployment rate dipped under 7.5 percent for the first time in five years.
The Georgia Department of Labor reported Thursday that November’s jobless rate for the six-county area was 7.4 percent. The last time it was that low was in late 2008 as the recession was heating up.
The rate declined from October’s 8.1 percent because more jobs were created and layoffs were down, state labor officials reported. Metro Augusta employers added 700 jobs in November, most of them in retail. Initial claims for unemployment benefits were down by more than 400 people in November.
April is normally the lowest point for the unemployment rate in metro Augusta because of the Masters Tournament. The rate was 7.6 percent this year.
Over the year, jobs were up by 900 from 215,600 in November 2012. The job gainers were in education and health care, retail trade, and leisure and hospitality.
The unemployment rate for Georgia last month was 7.3 percent. It was 7.1 percent in South Carolina.
Metro Athens had the lowest area jobless rate at 5.1 percent, while the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest at 10 percent.
The jobless percentage declined for all six counties in the metro area. Richmond County at 8.8 percent has not been this low since December 2008, when it was 8.6 percent.