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Metro Atlanta unemployment drops to 6.1 percent

Metro Atlanta unemployment drops to 6.1 percent

(WXIA) -- The Atlanta area's unemployment rate was 6.1 percent in February, down from January's 6.2 percent. It was also down a full point from the rate of 7.1 percent in February 2014.

DeKalb County's unemployment rate was 6.6 percent last month.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the drop was due to fewer layoffs and more new jobs. Many of the gains came in business, construction, education, government, and leisure and hospitality.

Nearly 39 percent fewer new claims for unemployment insurance were filed in February as well.

Metro Gainesville had Georgia's lowest February unemployment rate, at 5.1 percent. The Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest, at 8.1 percent.

CDC building closed Wednesday after fire


DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -- No one was hurt when a fire broke out inside the Rubella lab at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Tuesday night.

CDC spokesman Tom Skinner said the fire started at around midnight in Building 18. The building will remain closed Wednesday.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. Skinner said it may have been started by a malfunctioning piece of sterilization equipment.

Building 18 houses about 470 CDC employees. In addition to Rubella, scientists work on measles, mumps, HIV, meningitis, hepatitis and norovirus inside its labs. Skinner said there was no release or loss of containment of any germs in the fire.

Sprinklers put out the fire, but damaged much of the gear.

Ga. health rankings: DeKalb County

Ga. health rankings: DeKalb County

(WXIA) -- A new report offers detailed health statistics for each of Georgia's counties.

The findings, which are posted at countyhealthrankings.org, determined that Forsyth is Georgia's healthiest county. Early is the least healthy.

DeKalb is Georgia's 19th healthiest county, according to the data. It ranks 25th for quality of life, 8th for health behaviors (such as smoking and obesity), 8th for clinical care, 64th for social and economic factors (like graduation rates and violent crimes), and 128th for physical environment.

Here are some interesting takeaways about DeKalb County:

Weekend roadwork: The usual suspects

Weekend roadwork: The usual suspects

(WXIA) -- It's going to be "more of the same" on the Atlanta area's highways and interstates this weekend, as Georgia Department of Transportation crews take to the streets.

Drivers are asked to avoid travel on interstates 20 and 285, if possible. GDOT will close lanes in several areas, which could result in lengthy delays.

As always, all work is weather permitting.

Interstate 20

Three eastbound lanes will be closed between Langhorn and McDaniel streets from 9 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday for bridge joint repairs.

Two westbound lanes will be closed between the Downtown Connector and Langhorn Street from 9 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday for bridge joint repairs.

Two westbound lanes will be closed between Fulton Industrial Boulevard and I-285 from 9 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday for bridge joint repairs.

Experts slam CDC labs for lax safety


ATLANTA (USA Today) -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recently had lab mishaps involving some of the world's most dangerous pathogens, does "inadequate" training, lacks leadership commitment toward safety and has a significant percentage of staff who are afraid to report accidents, according to the agency's own safety advisers.

"We are very concerned that the CDC is on the way to losing credibility," wrote the group of external biosafety experts, appointed by the agency as advisers in the wake of high-profile accidents with anthrax and bird flu last year. "The CDC must not see itself as 'special'.CQ/Punctuation as written in their report. The internal controls and rules that the rest of the world works under also apply to CDC."

What are Georgia's safest and most dangerous cities?

What are Georgia's safest and most dangerous cities?

(ATLANTA BUSINESS CHRONICLE) -- Safety is a top concern for people planning to relocate to a new city. Luckily, the national research firm ValuePenguin crunched the numbers in an attempt to determine which areas of Georgia are the safest and most dangerous.

The top 10 safest cities in Georgia:

1. Holly Springs
2. Johns Creek
3. Milton
4. Flowery Branch
5. Tyrone
6. Grovetown
7. Peachtree City
8. Folkston
9. Jefferson
10. Hampton

The top 10 most dangerous cities in Georgia:

1. College Park
2. East Point
3. Atlanta
4. Americus
5. Garden City
6. Union City
7. Albany
8. Brunswick
9. Hapeville
10. Eastman

City of Atlanta special election is Tuesday

City of Atlanta special election is Tuesday

ATLANTA -- Registered voters living in the City of Atlanta are reminded to cast their ballots for the City of Atlanta special election at their designated precinct on Tuesday, Mar. 17 to vote for infrastructure bond referendums to pay for repairs and improvements.

“Registered voters should verify their voting precinct and poll location before election day,” said Richard Barron, Director of Fulton County Registration and Elections. “They should check their registration card to make sure they know where to vote on March 17.”