Rockdale County's preliminary unemployment rate dropped to 7.7 percent in February. That's down two tenths of a percent from January and more than 2 percentage points better than in February last year.
According to the Georgia Department of Labor, Metro Atlanta's unemployment rate decreased to 6.9 percent in February, down two-tenths of a percentage point from 7.1 percent in January. The rate was 8.4 percent in February a year ago.
The rate declined because there were 23.3 percent fewer new layoffs, as the number of initial claims for unemployment insurance dropped to 17,897, down 5,426 from 23,323 in January. Most of the decline in claims came in trade, transportation, and warehousing, manufacturing, administrative and support services, and accommodations and food services. There were 19,166 claims in February 2013.
Although the number of new claims declined, Metro Atlanta lost 1,900 seasonal jobs in February, mostly in leisure and hospitality and retail trade. The number of jobs declined to 2,409,000, down from 2,410,900 in January.
However, the number of jobs rose by 42,600, or 1.8 percent, over the year, up from 2,366,400 in February 2013. The big job gainers over the year were in trade, transportation, and warehousing, 12,800; professional and business services, 8,200; leisure and hospitality, 8,100; construction, 6,400; and education and health services, 5,900; financial services, 2,000; and manufacturing, 1,200. With a loss of 2,600 jobs, government was the only sector that declined.
Metro Athens had the lowest area jobless rate at 5.1 percent, while the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest at 9.7 percent.
Meanwhile, Georgia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for February was 7.1 percent, down from 7.3 percent in January. The rate was 8.5 percent in February a year ago.
Local area unemployment data are not seasonally adjusted. Georgia labor market data are available at www.employgeorgia.com