Augusta metro unemployment down to 7.2 percent

The Augusta metro unemployment rate in December was more than a percentage point lower than the year before.

The Georgia Department of Labor reported Thursday that the jobless rate was 7.2 percent in December, a drop from 7.3 percent in November. The rate was 8.6 percent in December 2012.

The rate dropped primarily because 1,600 more Augusta residents were employed in December, mostly due to seasonal hiring in retail trade, transportation and warehousing.

The last time the reported jobless rate was this low was in November 2008.

The metro area is doing better than the state. Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for December was 7.4 percent, down from 7.6 percent in November.

Across the river, South Carolina’s jobless rate for December was 6.6 percent, according to the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce. It was the first time since 2001 that the state was lower than the national rate.

For metro areas in Georgia, Athens had the lowest area jobless rate at 5.2 percent, while the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest at 10.2 percent. Greenville was the lowest metro in South Carolina at 5.0 percent with Florence the highest at 7.3 percent.

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