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Georgia unemployment rate drops to 9 percent
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ATLANTA — Georgia's unemployment rate dropped to 9 percent in September with signs that manufacturing is continuing to rebound from losses during the recession, state labor officials said.

The new jobless rate is down from 9.2 percent in August.

The rate declined because Georgia had the fewest new claims for unemployment insurance benefits in five years — before the start of the Great Recession, said Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler.

The number of manufacturing jobs from August to September grew by 1,900. That represents the largest such increase since 1994.

“I have no reason to believe that manufacturing will not continue to grow,” Butler said in an interview Thursday.

The Georgia Department of Labor announced the seasonally adjusted unemployment figures early Thursday.

Among metro areas, Gainesville led the state with job gains during the past year, adding 3,200 since September 2011 — a 4.3 percent increase.

The Dalton area led the state in job losses during the past year. The northwest Georgia community lost 2,900 jobs, a 4.5 percent decline since September 2011.

In Dalton, which has been hard-hit by plant closings in reductions in the carpet and floor-covering industry, state and local officials are planning an event next week that’s aimed at helping the area’s workers to find positions with local employers.

The event is part of a new Special Workforce Assistance Team (SWAT) designed to help match workers with jobs and boost the economy.

“It’s going to be a very intensive effort, unlike anything the Department of Labor has ever done before,” Butler said.

In Dalton, where the unemployment rate has hovered around 12 percent, some employers do have openings, Butler said. Part of the new effort is designed to identify employees who have the skills to fill those jobs now, or would be able to with some additional training.

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