The unemployment rate for Rockdale residents dropped to 9.1 percent for March, according to the Georgia Department of Labor, down from 9.6 percent in February and down more than a percentage point from 10.3 percent at this time last year.
Metro Atlanta's unemployment rate declined to 7.9 percent in March, down four-tenths of a percentage point from 8.3 percent in February. The rate was 8.9 percent at this time last year.
The state's unemployment rate also dropped to 8.4 percent, down 0.2 percent from last month. The rate was 9.1 percent in March a year ago.
Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said Atlanta businesses created more than 13,000 jobs in the month, while making fewer layoffs.
The number of jobs in metro Atlanta increased to 2,381,200, up by 13,100 from 2,368,100 in February. Most of the growth came in leisure and hospitality, 5,900; administrative and support services, 4,600; and professional and business services, 4,200. The number of government jobs declined by 1,400.
Over-the-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 number of new layoffs, which were represented by initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits, fell by 1,944 from 19,166 in February to 17,222 in March. The decreases came mostly in construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, transportation, and warehousing, administrative and support services, and accommodations and food services. And, the number of initial claims was down over-the-year by 3,398 from 20,620 in March 2012. Most of the over-the-year decline came in the same industries as the monthly decline.
Metro Athens had the lowest area jobless rate at 5.9 percent, while the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest at 10.4 percent.