The Georgia Department of Labor announced Thursday that the preliminary unemployment rate in metro Augusta declined to 8.6 percent in March, down from a revised 9.1 percent in February.
The jobless rate in metro Augusta in March a year ago was also 8.6 percent.
According to the department, the rate decreased because there were fewer layoffs in construction, manufacturing, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, and administrative and support services.
All six counties in the metro area declined, but only Columbia County was lower than the state jobless rate of 9.0 percent.
Across the river, both Aiken and Edgefield counties remained lower than the South Carolina rate of 8.9 percent, according to data from the Department of Employment and Workforce.
Comparing Georgia metro areas, Athens had the lowest area rate at 6.7 percent, while metro Dalton had the highest at 11.6 percent.