Metro Atlanta Unemployment Rate Increases to 8.7 Percent

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    The number of jobs in metro Atlanta declined by 29,100, or 1.2 percent, from December to January, according to the labor department, bringing the unemployment rate in the area to 8.7 percent. That’s up from 8.4 percent in December.

    Employers laid off more worker during the month of January, many of whom were hired for the Christmas holiday shopping season.

    In addition to the increase in the jobless rate, initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits rose by almost 45 percent during the period, increasing by 9,751. The department suggested that was primarily because of seasonal layoffs.

    Most of the claims were filed in construction, manufacturing, trade, transportation and warehousing, administrative and support services, and accommodations and food services.

    Despite the bad news, there is still a bit of silver lining. The jobless rate in the Atlanta metro area is still down noticeably from the same time last year. In January 2012 the jobless rate was 9.4 percent. Metro Atlanta started the year with 63,400 more jobs — a 2.8 percent increase — than it had in January 2012.

    Over the past year, employment increased in professional and business services by 18,000 jobs; trade, transportation, and warehousing by 13,600; leisure and hospitality by 12,000; and healthcare and social assistance by 10,700.

    Clayton County had the highest unemployment rate of the core metro Atlanta counties with 11 percent unemployment. Gwinnett had the lowest jobless rate at 7.6 percent. It was followed by Cobb at 7.8 percent, DeKalb (9.1 percent) and Fulton (9.4 percent).

    Metro Athens had Georgia’s lowest area jobless rate at 6.6 percent. Metro Dalton and the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region tied for the highest at 11.9 percent.

    Last week, the labor department said Georgia’s unemployment rate for January was 8.7 percent, which was unchanged from December.

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