Georgia's unemployment rate drops to 8.7%

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ATLANTA - Georgia's unemployment rate has dropped to 8.7 percent, state Department of Labor officials said Thursday.

The new figure is the seasonally adjusted jobless rate for August and it's down from 8.8 percent in July, officials said.

The main reason the rate dropped is that Georgia had a significant reduction in layoffs - the fewest since September 2007, said State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler.

Also, the state saw a small increase in the number of jobs. There were 4,045,100 jobs in the state in August, which is up by about 3,000 from July.

"The job gains that we normally would have in August, especially in the private sector, occurred in June and July, two months in which we normally lose thousands of jobs," Butler said in a statement. "As far as the overall number of jobs, we are much better off this August than last."

First-time unemployment claims reached 35,503, which is more than 18,603 - or 34.4 percent - less than in July.

State labor officials said most of the decline can be linked to the manufacturing industry because many workers who were temporarily laid off in July returned to work in August.

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