Dec 18, 12:46 PM EST

Georgia jobless rate drops to 7.2 percent

ATLANTA (AP) -- Georgia's unemployment rate has dropped to 7.2 percent as the state's employers continue to create new jobs and lay off fewer workers, state labor officials said Thursday.

The Georgia Department of Labor on Thursday announced the new figure, which is the seasonally adjusted jobless rate for November. October's adjusted rate was 7.6 percent.

State officials say the new rate represents what they call a significant drop. It is the largest monthly rate decline seen in Georgia since 1976, state Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said.

Despite the decline, Georgia's unemployment rate is still higher than the national rate, which remained unchanged at 5.8 percent in November.

Georgia employers added 23,400 new jobs in November for a total of about 4.17 million, Butler said.

"Our rate continues to trend downward as our state's employers create new jobs and lay off fewer workers, Butler said. "In fact, we had more jobs in November than we've had since the beginning of the Great Recession, and our November-to-November job growth was the largest in nine years."

Labor officials said most of the job growth came in trade, transportation and warehousing, areas where 16,000 jobs were created primarily because of holiday hiring.

Unemployment claims also declined, as "we saw our total number of initial claims for unemployment insurance in November fall to the lowest point in more than 14 years," Butler said.

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