ATLANTA -- The unemployment rate in metro Atlanta rose to 8.7 percent in January, up three-tenths of a percentage point from 8.4 percent in December. The rate was 9.4 percent in January 2012.
According to the Georgia Department of Labor the rate rose due to a loss of seasonal jobs and an increase in new layoffs.
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The number of jobs declined by 1.2 percent, from 2,392,000 in December to 2,362,900 in January. However, metro Atlanta started the year with 63,400 more jobs in January than a year ago.
Over-the-year job increases came mostly in professional and business services.
The number of initial claims, tied to many of the seasonal layoffs, rose by 9,751, or 44.5 percent, from 21,912 to 31,663. Most of the claims were filed in construction, manufacturing, trade, transportation and warehousing, administrative and support services, and accommodations and food services. However, the number of initial claims is down by 526 from January a year ago.
Metro Athens had the lowest area jobless rate at 6.6 percent, while metro Dalton and the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region tied for the highest at 11.9 percent.