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Metro Atlanta jobless rate drops to 6.8 percent

Following statewide trends, the metro Atlanta unemployment rate dropped to 6.8 percent in December, thanks to seasonal hiring in the retail trade, transportation and warehousing industries.

The figure dropped two-tenths of a percentage point from November, and the rate was 8.4 in December a year ago.

Those seasonal workers translated to 11,192 more Atlanta-area residents being employed, the Georgia Department of Labor released on Thursday. Gwinnett-specific figures were not available because offices were closed due to weather on Thursday.

More people were employed in metro Atlanta in December, 2,450,900 people, than at any point since May 2008.

The number of jobs since December, 2012 increased by 58,900, or 2.5 percent. Most of the gains came in professional and business services, trade, transportation and warehousing, leisure and hospitality and education and health services.

Meanwhile, new layoffs increased by 44.8 percent from November, and were counted in manufacturing, construction, accommodations and food services and administrative and support services.

Across the state, metro Athens had the lowest jobless rate at 5.2 percent, while the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest at 10.2 percent.

The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for December was 7.4 percent, down from 7.6 percent in November. The rate was 8.7 percent in December a year ago.