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Thursday, March 1, 2012 - 3:18am

Jobless Rate Drops Sixth Time

Georgia's labor commissioner reported the state's unemployment rate declined in January for the sixth straight month to 9.2 percent.

That number is down from a revised rate of 9.4 percent in December, and is the lowest rate since March 2009, when it was 9.1 percent.

The jobless rate was 10.1 percent in January 2011. Since then, Commissioner Mark Butler said the state has gained nearly 84,000 jobs, which he cited as the largest year-to-year increase since 2006.

Gains point to growth in sectors including health care, retail, trade, manufacturing and business services.

"Georgia businesses are starting to show confidence in the economy," Butler said.

About 13,000 more Georgians returned to the workforce between December and January, typically a period of decline due to the loss of seasonal jobs.