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Unemployment rate declines in metro Gainesville
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Metro Gainesville’s unemployment rate declined to 5.7 percent in December, down two-tenths of a percentage point from 5.9 percent in November, the Georgia Department of Labor announced Thursday.

The rate was 7.2 percent in December a year ago.

It decreased primarily because 136 more Gainesville residents were employed, mainly because of seasonal hiring in retail trade, transportation and warehousing.

The number of jobs in metro Gainesville, however, declined by 400 to 76,300 in December. The loss was mostly in services and goods producing. However, over-the-year numbers show an increase of 1,100 jobs, or 1.5 percent, since December 2012, when there were 75,200 jobs. Most of the gains came in service-related industries, including trade, transportation and warehousing.

At the same time, layoffs, represented by initial claims for unemployment insurance, increased to 1,587, up by 827, or 108.8 percent, from 760 in November. Claims increased in several sectors, including manufacturing, construction, and administrative and support services. There were 790 claims in December 2012.

Metro Athens had the lowest area jobless rate at 5.2 percent, while the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest at 10.2 percent.

Meanwhile, Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for December was 7.4 percent, down from 7.6 percent in November. The rate was 8.7 percent in December a year ago.

Local area unemployment data are not seasonally adjusted.