Finally, some good news from state jobs data.
The Georgia Department of Labor reported today that the preliminary unadjusted unemployment rate in metro Gainesville declined to 9.6 percent in March, down from 10 percent in February.
Data showed the number of unemployed workers in the area decreased to 8,409, down 367 from 8,776 in February.
The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to a record 10.6 percent in March, up one-tenth of a percentage point from February. This marks the 30th consecutive month that Georgia has exceeded the national seasonally adjusted rate, now 9.7 percent.
The state's March jobless rate was up 1.6 percentage points from 9.0 percent at this same time last year. The jobless rate in metro Gainesville in March 2009 was 8.8 percent.
In March, 1,017 laid-off workers in Gainesville filed initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits, a decrease of 133, or 11.6 percent, from 1,150 in February. There was a decrease of 1,027, or 50.2 percent, from 2,044 filed in March 2009.
Statewide, 69,265 laid-off workers filed initial claims, a decrease of 27,041, or 28.1 percent, from 96,306 claims filed in March 2009. There was a small month-over-month increase of 3,196, or 4.8 percent, from 66,069 in February. Most of the first-time claims were filed in manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, construction, and administrative and support services.
On a positive note, the state added 10,500 new jobs in March, an increase of three-tenths of a percentage point, from 3,784,900 in February to 3,795,400. In metro Gainesville, during the same one-month period, the number of jobs in the area was unchanged at 70,200.
The jobless rate also dropped in March in the Georgia Mountains region (10 percent, down from 10.3), the Northeast Georgia region (10.1 percent, down from 10.6), the Athens area (7.9 percent, down from 8.3) and in metro Atlanta (10.4 percent from 10.7).
Local area unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted. Georgia labor market data are available online.