Five facts (and a surprise) about Atlanta’s new jobless rate

Metro Atlanta’s unemployment rate dipped from 5.4 percent to 5.0 percent in November, the state labor department said Thursday.

That is Atlanta’s lowest unemployment rate since April of 2008, the early days of the recession.

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.

Here’s what is going on:

— 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 to total 2,646,000.

— Holiday hiring was important. The sectors that added employees included retail, healthcare, leisure and hospitality and government, as well as modest hiring in the corporate sector.

— There were only a few sectors with job losses, including technology and construction.

— 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.

— Over the past year, metro Atlanta has added 86,500 jobs. That growth represents 93 percent of the jobs added in Georgia.

One bonus surprise of a fact: The last three months combined made up the strongest autumn of job growth in metro Atlanta since the government started collecting that data in 1990.