(WRCB) – The unemployment rate declined, slightly, in Dalton for March according Georgia labor officials, but remains the highest in the state.

According to the Georgia Department of Labor, unemployment in Metro Dalton dropped from 12.2% in February to 11.6% in March.

Officials say the rate decreased because there were fewer layoffs in manufacturing and administrative and support services.

The drop puts the area at two-tenths of a percent decrease since March of last year.

The Dalton Metro area maintains the highest unemployment in the state. Metro Athens had the lowest area rate at 6.7 percent.

Statewide, unemployment has dropped to 9.0%, the lowest rate since February 2009.

The employment sectors showing growth since March of 2011 were: professional and business services, 28,900; trade and transportation, 10,700; education and health services, 7,900; manufacturing, 5,900; and leisure and hospitality, 1,200.