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Georgia unemployment rate drops to lowest level in more than 4 years

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ATLANTA — Georgia’s unemployment rate has fallen to 8.6 percent, its lowest level in four years, state labor officials reported.

Georgia’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate for Februa­ry was the lowest since January 2009, down from 8.7 percent in January, authorities said.

I give the credit to Georgia employers who continue to create jobs and lay off fewer workers,” Mark Butler, the state labor commissioner, said Thursday. “In fact, there were fewer workers laid-off and filing first-time claims for unemployment insurance in February than since before the beginning of the Great Recession in 2007.”

The number of jobs in metro Atlanta increased from 2.31 million in February 2012 to 2.37 million last month, figures from the Labor Department show.

In metro Savannah, jobs increased from 153,500 to 157,100 during the same period. Metro areas including Athens, Augusta, Brunswick, Macon, Gainesville and Rome also showed job gains during the past year. The Columbus, Dalton and Warner Robins areas experienced slight declines in job numbers over the past year.

Statewide, there were 3.98 million jobs in February, an increase of 19,300 from 3.96 million in January, labor officials said.

Most of the recent job growth came in professional and business services; education and health care; and information services, officials said.

AID SIGN-UP FLAT

The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment aid barely changed last week, while the average over the past month fell to a fresh five-year low.

Weekly unemploy­ment benefit applications rose just 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 336,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.

Over the past four weeks, the average number of applications has dropped by 7,500 to 339,750. That’s the lowest since February 2008, just three months into the recession.

– Associated Press


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