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Thursday, November 15, 2012 - 5:00am

Jobless Rate Tumbles

State labor officials reported Thursday that 36,000 new jobs in October pushed Georgia’s unemployment rate down from 9 percent to 8.7 percent.

Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the drop was not caused because fewer Georgians are looking for work.

“A lot of times, you can see an unemployment rate go down in a state because people have dropped out. They’ve given up on job search. That’s not been the case Georgia,” Butler said. “Our labor force has continued to get stronger and stronger.”

Butler says the state’s more than 3.9 million jobs last month are the most since December 2008. Most of the job growth occurred in retail, education and healthcare, and professional and business services.

The Labor Department also reported higher initial claims for jobless benefits, but fewer claims overall.