ATLANTA -- Gwinnett's unemployment rate dropped to its lowest mark in nearly five years in March as it matched metro Atlanta and statewide figures that also dropped across several employment areas.
The Georgia Department of Labor announced on Friday that the Gwinnett County unemployment rate in March dropped from 7.4 percent in February to 7.1 percent. Unemployment claims fell in several industries, including construction, manufacturing, administrative and support services and accommodation and food services.
The March rate is the lowest since it was 7 percent in December, 2008, a labor department analyst said.
Initial claims for jobless benefits dropped by 203 to 2,182, while the number of unemployed residents dropped by 1,018 to 31,480.
In March, 2012 the unemployment rate in Gwinnett was 8 percent and 2,647 residents filed for initial jobless benefits.
Across metro Atlanta, the unemployment rate declined from 8.3 percent to 7.9 percent in March, one percentage point lower than in March, 2012. The analyst said the rate declined because of an increase in the number of jobs and fewer new layoffs.
In the last year, metro Atlanta added 55,200 jobs, or 2.4 percent, from 2,326,000 in March 2012. Most of the growth was in professional and business services, 19,500; administrative and support services, 11,900; leisure and hospitality, 11,700; and trade, transportation, and warehousing, 11,000, the labor department analyst said.
Statewide, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for March was 8.4 percent, down from 8.6 percent in February. The rate was 9.1 percent in March a year ago.
State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said 23,700 jobs were created last month, which was one of the best job growth numbers in nearly 10 years.
"The growth was in several industries, led by leisure and hospitality and professional and business services," Butler said.
The lowest rate in the state is metro Athens at 5.9 percent, while the highest was the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region at 10.4 percent.