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Metro Atlanta jobless rate rises to 8.7 percent

ATLANTA (AP) -- Metro Atlanta's jobless rate rose to 8.7 percent in January, up from 8.4 percent the month before, state labor officials said.

That compares to 9.4 percent in January 2012.

The Georgia Department of Labor released the new numbers early Thursday.

State officials said the rate in January rose because of two main factors -- a loss of seasonal jobs and an increase in new layoffs.

The number of jobs in metro Atlanta declined by 29,100, or 1.2 percent, from 2.39 million in December to 2.36 million in January. However, metro Atlanta started the year with 63,400 more jobs in January than a year ago, the Department of Labor reported.

Elsewhere in Georgia, metro Athens had the lowest area jobless rate at 6.6 percent.

Metro Dalton and the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region tied for the highest rate at 11.9 percent.

The local area unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted.

Statewide, Georgia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for January was 8.7 percent. That was unchanged from December. It compares to a rate of 9.3 percent in January a year ago.