Atlanta’s unemployment rate dropped one-tenth of a percentage point from 6.9 percent in February.
The county and the sections of Atlanta within county borders both stayed flat month to month but were still at least a full percentage point under the March 2013 rate of 8.6 percent and 10.1 percent, respectively.
The city of East Point again struggled in the double digits but also doubled the metro area’s rate of decline with a 0.2 percentage point drop from the February rate of 10.9.
State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the metro Atlanta rate declined in part because employers created more jobs.
“Mainly it had to do with the fact we saw local businesses add 17,500 jobs over the last month, which, by the way, if we look over the last five years, that is double the average that we’ve seen, growth-wise, in jobs,” he said in a statement.
Government jobs, which had been growing scarcer in 2013, roared back in March with 800 new hires.
Butler said most sectors increased their headcounts.
“Your top three are leisure and hospitality; professional business services; and trade and transportation utilities,” he said.
Another factor is fewer laid-off workers.
“We actually saw initial claims, which is the people who are newly laid off, decrease by almost 22 percent last month, which is a very good sign,” Butler said.
According to department spokesman Sam Hall, there were 13,982 new claims for unemployment insurance filed in March.
“Most of the decline in claims came in construction, 1,114; manufacturing, 1,014; and administrative and support services, 619,” he said in a statement.