Unemployment drops in U.S. metro areas

Unemployment rates fell in three-quarters of large U.S. cities in October, a sign that the job market is picking up broadly across the country.

The Labor Department said Tuesday that unemployment rates fell in 281 metro areas. They rose in 57 and were unchanged in 34. That’s slightly better than September’s showing and is the largest number of cities to report a drop since April.

The metro area unemployment data aren’t adjusted for seasonal variations, such as hiring for the winter holidays, and so they can be volatile.

Nationwide, the unemployment rate was unchanged in October at 9 percent. Last week, the government said the nationwide rate fell to 8.6 percent in November, the lowest level in 2½ years. Employers added about 120,000 net jobs.

Still, a big reason the unemployment rate fell was that more people said they have given up on their job searches and dropped out of the workforce.

LOCAL STATISTICS SEE LITTLE IMPROVEMENT

U.S. unemployment rates in October for Georgia and South Carolina, according to the Labor Department. Figures are in percentages:

                                                      OCT. 2011           SEPT. 2011          OCT. 2010

Georgia                                               10                         10.2                         10.1

Albany                                                  10.4                      10.8                          10.8

Athens-Clarke County                        7.5                         8                                7.6

Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta      9.9                        10.2                           10.2

Augusta-Richmond County                9.3                         9.6                             8.9

Brunswick                                            10.2                      10.5                            9.9

Columbus                                               9.5                        9.8                              9.2

Gainesville                                             8.4                         8.6                              9.1

Hinesville-Fort Stewart                      9.5                         9.8                             8.9

Macon                                                   10.1                       10.3                         10.2

Savannah                                                 9                          9.3                             8.9

South Carolina                                 9.9                      10.6                         10.6

Anderson                                                9.3                        9.9                           10.7

Charleston-N. Charleston                    8.5                          9                              9.1

Columbia                                                8.5                         9.1                             9.1

Florence                                                10.8                       11.4                           11.3

Greenville-Mauldin-Easley                 8.4                         8.8                             9.3

Spartanburg                                           9.9                       10.5                           10.7

Sumter                                                  10.9                       11.5                            11.6

– Associated Press

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