Metro Atlanta’s unemployment rate falls to 6.5 percent

Metro Atlanta’s unemployment rate dropped to 6.5 percent in November from 7.0 percent in October, as employers boosted their hiring — partly for the holiday season — and reduced layoffs, the state labor department said Thursday.

Employers in the metro area added 17,800 new jobs in November. That pushed the total number of jobs to 2,506,400, which was up 0.7 percent from October.

Most of the job growth came in trade, transportation and warehousing, which gained 13,800 jobs, primarily because of holiday hiring. Other increases came in education and health services — 1,300 new jobs; government — 1,300; financial services — 1,200; manufacturing — 600; information services — 500; other services — 800.

Over the past year, there was a gain 59,600 jobs, driving down the unemployment rate from 7.0 percent in November 2013. That was the largest November-to-November job growth since 2006.

Still, the metro area’s unemployment rate, as well as Georgia’s 7.2 percent jobless rate, continue to trail the national average of 5.8 percent.

On the layoffs front, there was a substantial 14.4 percent drop in new claims for unemployment insurance in the metro area. They totaled 13,456 in November, and also were down 17.1 percent from November 2013.

For the core metro counties, Gwinnett had the lowest unemployment rate at 5.7 percent. It was followed by Cobb with 6.0 percent, DeKalb (6.8 percent), Fulton (7.3 percent) and Clayton (8.1 percent).

Statewide, metro Athens had the lowest area jobless rate at 5.0 percent, while the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest at 9.0 percent.