4:35 am May 24, 2012, by Henry Unger
Metro Atlanta’s unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent in April — its lowest level since December 2008 when it was 7.7 percent, the state labor department said Thursday.
The jobless rate dropped from 8.7 percent in March and 9.3 percent a year ago.
The rate declined because the number of new jobs grew by 14,800 to 2,331,100. That was highest number of jobs in metro Atlanta since November 2011.
For the core metro counties, Gwinnett posted the lowest rate at 7.6 percent. Cobb was next with 8 percent, followed by DeKalb (8.9 percent), Fulton (9.2 percent) and Clayton (10.5 percent).
Statewide, Metro Athens had the lowest area rate at 6.5 percent, while metro Dalton had the highest at 11.4 percent.
Last week, the labor department said Georgia’s unemployment rate declined for the ninth consecutive month in April to 8.9 percent. It the first time in more than three years the rate has dropped below 9 percent.
Statewide, the rate declined as the number of new jobs grew by 31,900, to 3,926,000. That was the highest number of jobs in Georgia since January 2009.
The industries showing growth were: trade and transportation; leisure and hospitality; professional and business services; construction; and education and healthcare. While the state gained jobs overall, state and local governments shed 3,300 jobs.
Georgia and metro Atlanta still trail the national unemployment rate, currently at 8.1 percent.
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