The jobless percentage in the Augusta metro area dropped in August.
The Georgia Department of Labor announced Thursday that the preliminary unemployment rate in metro Augusta was 9.4 percent, down from 9.8 percent in July. The rate was 9.6 percent in August 2011.
State officials explained the decline by saying there were 780 fewer layoffs in manufacturing, construction, trade, and administrative and support services. Also, the metro labor force declined by 3,128, partially because some students left summer jobs to return to school.
In the six-county metro area, jobs increased to 206,000 in August, up by 1,000 from July, but down by 3,300 from August 2011, according to state data.
Augusta’s unemployment rate is lower than South Carolina at 9.6 percent, but higher than Georgia’s 9.2 percent.
Metro Athens continued to have the lowest area jobless rate in Georgia at 6.7 percent, while the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha Regional Commission had the highest at 12.2 percent. In South Carolina, Florence had the highest at 10.2 percent while Greenville and Charleston were at 7.9 percent.