The last time the unemployment rate for the metro Augusta area was less than 9 percent was in April.
The rate in September was 8.6 percent, the Georgia Department of Labor reported Thursday, a steep decline from the 9.3 percent in August. The jobless rate was 9.5 percent in September 2011.
State labor officials said the decline comes from fewer layoffs in trade, transportation and warehousing, coupled with nearly 2,700 more people with jobs.
According to labor department data, there were 233,488 people with jobs in September in the metro area.
Five of the area’s six counties had declines from August, with Aiken County’s rate remaining unchanged.
Columbia County, at 6.6 percent, was the eighth-lowest in the state.
Among metro areas, Athens continued to have the lowest area jobless rate at 6.4 percent, while metro Dalton had the highest at 11.2 percent.
Metro Augusta also fell below Georgia’s unemployment rate for the first time in four months, which was 9 percent in September.
South Carolina had a 9.1 percent jobless rate in September, according to the state’s Department of Employment and Workforce.