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Georgia's jobless rate drops to 8.2 percent

ATLANTA (AP) -- Georgia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 8.2 percent in April, state labor officials said Thursday.

The figure is down from 8.4 percent in March, and 9.1 percent a year ago, according to the Georgia Department of Labor.

Georgia's unemployment rate is now the lowest it has been since December 2008, Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said.

"While a two-tenths of a percent drop in one month is good to see, the most important part of that is that we saw Georgia employers create over 31,000 jobs," Butler said.

Most new jobs in the state were in the leisure and hospitality industry. About 10,700 jobs were created in that sector. Professional and business services saw the second-highest increase in growth with 9,400 jobs being added. Trade and transportation, education and health services and construction rounded out the top five growing industries for the month.

Despite job growth, the number of layoffs — which is represented by new claims for unemployment insurance benefits — rose by 15.3 percent between March and April. Officials say 5,661 new claims were filed, bringing the monthly total to 42,644.

Labor officials say most new claims were from former manufacturing, trade and transportation and administrative employees. The state's unemployment claims for April were down 10.2 percent from the same time period last year.