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Georgia unemployment rate dips to 8.7 percent in October

Georgia’s unemployment rate declined in October to 8.7 percent, with the state adding 36,000 jobs from September.

The October rate is down from 9 percent the month before and 9.7 percent in October a year ago, the Georgia Department of Labor reported today.

State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler noted the job increase was the largest ever from September to October.

“That job growth pushed the number of jobs in October to the highest level in any month since December of 2008,” he said in a statement. The U.S. economy was officially a year into the Great Recession at that time, a malaise the nation has been slow to shake.

Job sectors that experienced the most gains statewide from September to October were retail trade, education, health care, professional and business services, state and local public schools, leisure and hospitality, technology, construction, financial services and manufacturing.

Manufacturing specifically was up 700 jobs, although year-over-year there have been 10,500 positions generated in that sector, Butler said.

Overall, since October 2011, the state has added 68,000 jobs.

“Our labor force has grown consistently over the past year, indicating that Georgians are more optimistic about finding a job, and fortunately, we’ve had the job growth necessary to put these people to work,” Butler said.

Another employment barometer — initial jobless claims filings — actually rose in Georgia by nearly 12,000 in October. First-time filings for the state are down nearly 4,400 from a year ago, however.

Metro area data released today showed Columbus losing 700 jobs over the past year, its workforce slipping to 118,800 in October. Augusta, with 3,500 jobs lost, and Dalton, down 2,400, were the only other metro areas to see drops in their workforce totals. Atlanta has added 33,700 jobs over the last 12 months.

Nearly 1,400 Columbus residents submitted claims for unemployment benefits for the first time in October, up about 200 from a year ago. The only other metro areas to see an increase in initial filings during that period were Athens and Savannah.

The jobless rate in Columbus in September was 8.7 percent. Metro area figures are expected to be released next week.

METRO AREA WORKFORCE TOTALS

Here are the October 2012 workforce totals for Georgia’s metro areas:

Atlanta — 2,353,500

Augusta — 206,400

Savannah — 154,600

Columbus — 118,800

Macon — 98,800

Athens — 88,100

Gainesville — 78,800

Dalton — 61,400

Albany — 59,700

Warner Robins — 59,300

Valdosta — 52,300

Brunswick — 40,300

Rome — 38,100

Hinesville — 20,000

* Source: Georgia Department of Labor

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