Atlanta jobless rate dives to 5.0 percent

In April 2008, metro Atlanta’s jobless rate ratcheted up to 5.0 percent but recession was only starting to wash over the nation,  and the rate barely paused before heading skyward toward double-digits.

Today, the region’s unemployment rate hit that mark again, but this time we’re going in the right direction: Metro Atlanta’s jobless rate fell from 5.4 percent to 5.0 percent in November, the state labor department said Thursday.

The unemployment rate has come down from 6.1 percent in November of last year. Atlanta’s rate has finally fallen enough to match the national average: also 5.0 percent.

Atlanta’s jobless rate has not been below the national average since the recession began in late 2007. Most of the time since then, it’s been well above the nation’s.

Several metro Atlanta companies are hiring. Apply today.

The high points of a generally good report:

— It was a better-than-average November for job growth. From October to November, the number of jobs in the metro area rose 18,400. That compares to average of less than 13,000 in November.

You want good news going into the new year? The last three months make up the strongest autumn of job growth in metro Atlanta since the government started collecting that data in 1990: an addition of more than 50,000 jobs.

— Deck the halls and hit the malls — holiday hiring has been good this year. Retail led the sectors adding jobs. Also with good news were healthcare, leisure and hospitality and government. There was also modest hiring in the corporate sector.

— There were only a few sectors with job losses, including technology and construction. (No economic story is devoid of a downside and that is this one’s: those are two of the better-paid, more influential sectors. We need them to turn it around in 2016).

— Employers laid off more people. There were 14,257 new claims for unemployment insurance in November, a 5.6 percent increase from a year ago.

Labor Commissioner Mark Butler says it’s mostly temporary cuts for construction and manufacturing. Let’s hope he’s right.

— Atlanta is pacing the state, dominating the job growth data. Over the past year, metro Atlanta has added 86,500 jobs — representing 93 percent of the jobs added in Georgia.