3:25 pm September 27, 2012, by Henry Unger
Metro Atlanta’s unemployment rate fell to 8.9 percent in August from 9.2 percent in July, but that wasn’t the only news worth considering to come out of the Georgia Department of Labor Thursday.
The size of the local labor force, the number of employed people here, and the number of jobs all increased last month from August 2011. As a result, the unemployment rate also fell a full percentage point over that time, from 9.9 percent.
While the importance of the July-to-August improvement can be downplayed _ much of it can be attributed to people leaving the workforce after the end of summer jobs _ the year over year gain is encouraging, Labor Department spokesman Sam Hall said.
The metro labor force declined by 23,505 from July to August.
“When you look at the one percent drop from August to August, we would place more importance on that than the month to month fluctuation,” he said.
The number of employed people in the metro area increased by 52,997 from August 2011 to August 2012. At the same time, the work force grew by 26,555 and the number of unemployed fell 26,442.
Unemployment rates can decline when there is little or no job growth if enough people leave the labor force. That wasn’t the case from August 2011 to August 2012.
The number of jobs in metro Atlanta grew by 29,400 in that time. Jobs are different than the number of employed people because some workers hold more than one job.
Among the core metro Atlanta counties, Clayton had the highest unemployment rate, 11.2 percent. Fulton was next with 9.9 percent, followed by DeKalb (9.4 percent), Cobb (8.1 percent) and Gwinnett (7.9 percent).
Georgia’s unemployment rate was 9.2 percent in August, unchanged from July. Georgia and metro Atlanta continue to have higher jobless rates than the national average, currently 8.1 percent.
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