ATLANTA -- Metro Atlanta's unemployment rate decreased to 8.6 percent in July, down two-tenths of a percentage point from 8.8 percent in June, according to the Georgia Department of Labor. The rate was 9.3 percent in July a year ago.
The rate dropped as 15,945 more people became employed in metro Atlanta in July than in June, pushing the number to 2,538,968.
The department said the private sector continues to add jobs in Atlanta, gaining 9,400 in July. However, government shed 10,800 jobs, which left an overall net loss of 1,400, as the overall number of jobs decreased to 2,412,800 from 2,414,200 in June.
The private sector job increases came in construction, 3,200; trade and transportation, 2,700; education and health services, 1,400; leisure and hospitality, 1,200; information services, 700; manufacturing, 600; and financial services, 300.
Over-the-year job gains are strong, as Metro Atlanta has gained 72,000 jobs, or 3.1 percent, since the 2,340,800 in July 2012. The annual gains came in several industries, including: professional and business services, 22,700; trade and transportation, 13,600; education and health services, 13,200; leisure and hospitality, 11,500; construction, 7,100; information services, 4,700; and financial services, 2,700. Government lost 1,700 jobs.
Metro Athens had the lowest area jobless rate at 6.9 percent, while metro Dalton and the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region tied for the highest at 12.3 percent.
Meanwhile, Georgia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for July was 8.8 percent, up from 8.5 percent in June. The rate was 9.1 percent in July a year ago.