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Jobless rate dips in Coastal Georgia, metro Savannah

POSTED: March 29, 2012 7:59 p.m.

ATLANTA—The Georgia Department of Labor announced Thursday that the preliminary unemployment rate in the Coastal Georgia area declined to 9.2 percent in February, down two-tenths of a percentage point from a revised 9.4 percent in January. The jobless rate in the Coastal area in February a year ago was 9.6 percent.

The preliminary unemployment rate in metro Savannah declined to 8.7 percent in February, down two-tenths of a percentage point from a revised 8.9 percent in January. The jobless rate in metro Savannah in February a year ago was 9.2 percent.

Effingham County’s unemployment rate for February was 8.1 percent. Oconee County, at 5.9 percent, had the lowest jobless rate for February, and the highest rate was in Jenkins County at 17.6 percent.

Metro Athens had the lowest area rate at 7 percent, while metro Dalton had the highest at 12.3 percent.

Meanwhile, Georgia’s February seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined for the seventh consecutive month to 9.1 percent, the lowest rate since March of 2009, when it was also 9.1 percent. That is a decline of one-tenth of a percentage point from a revised 9.2 percent in January. The jobless rate was 9.9 percent in February a year ago.

Statewide, the rate went down because the number of jobs in February increased by 15,600 to 3,880,400, with 70 percent of the growth coming in the private sector. Also, newly revised numbers show the state gained 41,800 jobs in the past 12 months.

The employment sectors showing growth over the year were: professional and business services, 28,000; retail trade, 12,700; education and health care, 8,300; and manufacturing, 4,200.

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