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Atlanta-area unemployment drops to 7.3 percent

Atlanta-area unemployment drops to 7.3 percent

(WXIA) -- Metro Atlanta's unemployment rate fell seven-tenths of a point in September.

Last month's rate was 7.3 percent, well below August's 8.0 percent. The unemployment rate was 7.6 percent in September 2013.

Gwinnett County's unemployment rate was 6.6 percent in September.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said there were nearly 20,000 fewer unemployed people in Atlanta last month, and companies reported fewer layoffs. Industries that added jobs in September include government; education and health services; construction; and trade and transportation.

Metro Athens had Georgia's lowest unemployment rate in September, at 5.7 percent. The Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest, at 9.5 percent.

Berkmar High School evacuated by bathroom fire


LILBURN, Ga. -- Berkmar High School in Gwinnett County was briefly evacuated Monday morning.

A small fire broke out inside a trash can in a girls' bathroom, according to Gwinnett County Fire Capt. Tommy Rutledge.

Responding crews took the trash can outside and put out of the fire. The school was evacuated as a precaution. Rutledge said no one was hurt.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Weekend roadwork: The I-285 debacle continues

Weekend roadwork: The I-285 debacle continues

(WXIA) -- It's going to be another messy weekend on metro Atlanta's highways.

The Georgia Department of Transportation encourages drivers to stay off Interstates 20 and 285 if they can.

As always, all work is weather permitting.

Scheduled construction projects include:

Bartow County
* 1 northbound lane of I-75 will be closed between two miles north of Glade Road and one mile south of Allatoona Road from 9 p.m. Friday to 1 a.m. Saturday for bridge maintenance.
* 1 northbound lane of I-75 will be closed between two miles north of Glade Road and one mile south of Allatoona Road from 7 a.m. Saturday to 5 p.m. Sunday for bridge maintenance.

Cobb County
* 1 lane of the I-75 southbound exit ramp to I-285 west will be closed from 9 p.m. Saturday to 7 a.m. Sunday for work on the Northwest Corridor Express Lanes project.

Weekend roadwork: Lots of projects on the schedule

Weekend roadwork: Lots of projects on the schedule

(WXIA) -- A major project on a heavily traveled interchange is bound to cause some headaches for Atlanta-area drivers this weekend.

It's just one of several scheduled construction sessions throughout the area. All work is weather permitting.

Crews will be hard at work on the Kennedy Interchange in Cobb County much of the weekend. The Kennedy Interchange is where Interstate 75 meets Interstate 285 in the Cumberland area.

The Georgia Department of Transportation said sign installation will require multiple lane closures on the Outer Loop of I-285 just before the exit ramp to Cobb Parkway and I-75 north. Two right lanes will close at 9 a.m. Saturday; that will expand to three lanes between 11 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. Sunday. Outer Loop traffic will also be paced in the area beginning at around 2 a.m. Sunday.

Other weekend road projects include:

Gwinnett County redistricting affects 14K students

Gwinnett County redistricting affects 14K students

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. -- The state's biggest school district is reshuffling thousands of student because of redistricting.

Officials say there has been so much growth in Gwinnett County that they've had to build new schools. That means some 14,000 students are being moved.

Most of the changes are happening in the west and central part of the county.

One big catalyst is a brand new high school in Lawrenceville off Old Norcross Road. It will create a new cluster. If you travel 2.7 miles down the road, you can see what kind of shake-up it creates.

In the Waterford community, every child will be going to a different school next year, much to the chagrin of some parents.

But just down the street, the redistricting is actually good news for high school students who get a brand new building.

Backhoe falls into trench, operator injured

Backhoe falls into trench, operator injured

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. -- A backhoe operator suffered minor injuries after the piece of equipment fell into a hole at a Gwinnett County construction site.

It happened at around 11:15 a.m. Monday near the Walmart in the 4000 block of Lawrenceville Highway.

Gwinnett County Fire Capt. Tommy Rutledge said the backhoe tumbled into the eight-foot trench. Its operator was alert and conscious after the accident, and was able to climb out of the backhoe on his own.

The operator was taken to a nearby hospital. Rutledge said his injuries do not appear to be severe.

Unemployment up slightly in August

Unemployment up slightly in August

(WXIA) -- Metro Atlanta's unemployment rate climbed again in August.

The rate was 8.0 percent, up slightly from July's 7.9 percent. It was also 7.9 percent in August 2013.

Gwinnett County's preliminary unemployment rate was 7.2 percent last month.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said despite the rate increase, metro Atlanta added nearly 6,000 jobs in August, mostly in government; education and health services; manufacturing; and construction. Fewer Atlanta-area residents also filed for unemployment insurance in August than in July.

Metro Athens had Georgia's lowest August unemployment rate at 6.4 percent. Metro Dalton's was the highest at 10.7 percent.