Metro Atlanta’s unemployment rate continues to fall. After dropping 0.4 percent in March, the jobless rate in the metro area fell to 7.6 percent in April from 7.9 percent in March. The Labor Department attributed the decrease in unemployment to employers hiring thousands of additional workers during the month.

The 0.3 percent decrease in unemployment translates to an increase of 12,900 Atlanta jobs in April from March to total 2,394,100. Most of the growth came in traditionally high-paying industries like professional and business services, which added 5,900 jobs. Other industries, including trade and transportation – 3,700, leisure and hospitality – 2,700, education and health services – 2,400, and construction – 1,400, added thousands of jobs during the month.

Since April 2012, metro Atlanta has added 48,200 jobs, driving down the jobless rate from 8.5 percent a year ago. Much of that growth was in the same industries – professional and business services — 20,500; trade and transportation — 10,200; education and health services — 8,700; leisure and hospitality — 6,100; information services — 5,100; and construction — 3,100.

The jobs gains have subsisted despite a steady decline of 5,800 government jobs during that time.

For the core metro counties, Gwinnett had the lowest jobless rate at 6.8 percent. It was followed by Cobb at 6.9 percent, DeKalb (8.2 percent), Fulton (8.3 percent) and Clayton (9.3 percent).

The unemployment rate for the city of Atlanta, though still higher than in many surrounding areas, fell to 9.6 percent in April from 9.9 percent in March. It was 10.8 percent a year ago.

In Georgia the two areas with the highest and lowest unemployment rates stayed the same as in March. Metro Athens had the state’s lowest area jobless rate at 5.6 percent. The Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest at 10.3 percent.

Last week, the labor department reported that Georgia’s unemployment rate fell to 8.2 percent in April from 8.4 percent the previous month. The rate was 9.1 percent in April 2012.

While metro Atlanta’s jobless rate and the rate in Georgia are still higher than the national unemployment rate of 7.5 percent, the gap that has existed for several years is becoming much less pronounced.

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