Atlanta jobless rate ticks down, still above nation's

Metro Atlanta’s jobless rate ticked down 0.1 percent in November to 10.1 percent, the Labor Department reported on Thursday.

The modest improvement came with an addition of jobs and a drop in the number of people looking for work – both rarities since the recession that started in late 2007.

Metro Atlanta has added jobs in only four of the past 23 months. The region’s unemployment rate has been in double digits since June.

But in November, area payrolls grew by 14,768.

The direction is encouraging, although it pales by comparison to the losses. Metro Atlanta last month had 142,649 fewer jobs than it did in November of 2008.

The region last month had 267,817 officially unemployed people, a 40 percent increase from the 191,174 jobless workers a year ago, the Labor Department said.

“Georgia’s job market is struggling to regain its footing,” Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond said Thursday.

Thurmond has called a "jobs summit" for Jan. 18, inviting a range of business leaders, public officials and academics to discuss ways to meet the ongoing crisis in the labor market.

The Atlanta unemployment rate crested at 10.6 percent during the summer, but the figure may understate the problem because it does not count anyone who has stopped looking for a job. The labor force count has shrunk in a year by more than 66,000 people.

This is the first time in many months that Atlanta's jobless rate has slipped below that of the state. Georgia's rate for November was 10.2 percent.

Both are slightly higher than the national rate of 10 percent. The state and Atlanta rates have been higher than the national rate for 24 of the past 25 months, according to the Labor Department.

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