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Jobless rate up slightly in metro Gainesville area
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ATLANTA — The preliminary unemployment rate in metro Gainesville rose to 7.6 percent in January, up one-tenth of a percentage point from a revised 7.5 percent in December, the Georgia Department of Labor announced Thursday.

The jobless rate in metro Gainesville, which includes all of of Hall County, was 9 percent in January a year ago.

The rate increased because there were layoffs in construction, wholesale and retail trade, transportation and warehousing, health care and social assistance, and arts, entertainment and recreation.

The statewide unemployment rate declined for the sixth month in a row to 9.2 percent in January, the lowest rate since March of 2009 when it was 9.1 percent. That is a decline of two-tenths of a percentage point from a revised 9.4 percent in December. The jobless rate was 10.1 percent in January a year ago.

Georgia's jobless rate fell because about 13,000 more workers were employed in January than in December. Also, newly revised numbers show that Georgia gained 83,700 jobs in the last 12 months. This is the largest January to January job growth since 2006.

Among the sectors showing growth over the year, professional and businesses services gained 37,000 jobs, retail trade gained 15,100, health care and social assistance grew by 11,100, and manufacturing gained 7,300.

The unemployment rate in the Georgia Mountains area rose to 8.2 percent in January, up from a revised 8 percent in December. The jobless rate in the region in January 2011 was 9.5 percent.

Metro Athens had the state's lowest area rate at 7.9 percent, while metro Dalton had the highest at 13.6 percent.