The rate was 8.9 percent in August a year ago.
Fulton County’s rate, now at 8.8 percent, was 9.9 last August and 9.3 in July.
According to the department’s report, East Point’s rate fell from 13.9 percent in August 2012 to 12.3, a decrease in half a percentage point from July’s rate of 12.8.
Out of a labor force of 15,935, there were 1,965 unemployed workers, down from 2,218 a year ago in a labor force of 16,012.
Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said in a statement the metro Atlanta rate dropped because there was a significant reduction in layoffs and an increase in the number of jobs.
There were 17,563 new layoffs, represented by initial claims for unemployment insurance, which are 6,137, or 25.9 percent, fewer than in July.
“We did see initial claims drop significantly. It dropped over 25 percent,” he said. “That is a very good number and hopefully we’re going to see that trend continue.”
Department spokeswoman Lauren Staley said the new layoffs figure represents the first time an applicant files for unemployment benefits.
“Initial claims are a leading economic indicator,” she said. “So, in the big picture, fewer initial claims would suggest that the economy is improving because employers are not laying off as many workers.”
But the figure is not used in calculating the jobless rate, Staley said.
“It is calculated by using the labor force, which is the number of people employed and the number of people unemployed but actively looking for work,” she said. “The rate is actually the percentage of the labor force represented by the number of unemployed.
“Also, a person who is out of work will not necessarily file an initial claim. In fact, only about half of all unemployed people actually receive unemployment benefits.”
Staley said the unemployment rate also does not include those who have stopped seeking employment.
“There is no way of accurately counting the number of people who have given up looking for work,” she said. “We track the labor force, but people who have given up looking for a job – hence not actively searching for work which is a criteria for being counted as legally unemployed – will not be a part of these figures.”
Reductions in labor forces, like in East Point, can be due to a number of factors.
“Quite often a reduction in the labor force will be explained as some people growing discouraged and giving up their search for employment,” Staley said. “While this can often be true, there no way to distinguish them from those who've retired or left the labor force to return to school, or any number of reasons.”
Fulton is one of the 17 percent, or 27 counties, with a rate between 8 and 8.9 percent.
In surrounding counties, rates are Fayette 7.3, Coweta 7.7, Carroll 9.4, Douglas 8.4, Cobb 7.2, Cherokee 6.3, Forsyth 6.1, Gwinnett 7.1, DeKalb 8.4 and Clayton 10.3.
Local data are not seasonally adjusted.
The state seasonally adjusted rate for August is 8.7 percent, down from 8.8 in July and 9.0 in August 2012.