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Unemployment in metro area falls to 8.5 percent

POSTED: May 26, 2011 6:02 p.m.

ATLANTA—State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said today that the preliminary unadjusted unemployment rate in the metro Savannah area decreased to 8.5 percent in April, down one-tenth of a percentage point from a revised 8.6 percent in March. The jobless rate in the metro Savannah area in April a year ago was 8.3 percent.

Unemployment in Effingham County for April was at 8.1 percent.

The rate decreased because there were 1,300 new jobs added in the metro Savannah area in April, mostly in the service-related industries, including leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, educational and health services, and trade.

The lowest rate, at 7.1 percent, was recorded in metro Athens, while the highest, at 11.5 percent, was in the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region around Dublin.

Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for April was 9.9 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point, from a revised 10.0 percent in March. The state’s jobless rate was 10.1 percent in April a year ago. The last time the state’s rate was below 10 percent was in June 2009, when it was 9.8 percent.

Oconee County, at 6.1 percent, had the lowest unemployment rate in April among Georgia’s 159 counties. Hancock County, at 19.5 percent, had the highest jobless rate.

April marked the 43rd consecutive month that Georgia has exceeded the national unemployment rate, which is currently 9.0 percent.

But, the last time the Georgia rate dropped over the month, while the U.S. rate increased was April of last year. At that time, the state rate declined one-tenth of a percentage point to 10.1 percent, while the national rate rose one-tenth percent to 9.8 percent.

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