With more people entering the labor force, including recent high school and college graduates, the Columbus metro area unemployment rate climbed from 7.9 percent in April to 8.5 percent in May.
Thats slightly better than the 8.7 percent figure a year ago.
The Georgia Department of Labor reported Thursday that 1,019 local residents jumped into labor market last month, bringing to 131,926 the total number of individuals here either employed or actively seeking work.
That was offset somewhat with 800 jobs being created in the Columbus area, putting the local workforce at 120,700 in May, the department said. The job gains came in leisure and hospitalilty, trade and transportation, professional and business services, and federal and local government. Over the past year, however, Columbus is still down 100 government positions.
Among Georgias metro areas, Athens, home to the University of Georgia, had the lowest May unemployment rate at 6.2 percent. The highest was 10.7 percent in the carpet and floor-covering manufacturing hub of Dalton.
Georgias overall jobless rate, reported last week, came in at 8.3 percent, which was still better than 9.1 percent a year ago.
Rates varied among Georgia counties surrounding the Columbus metro area. Muscogee was 8.9 percent, with Harris at 6.4 percent, Troup at 9.1 percent, Chattahoochee at 17.4 percent, Marion at 7.2 percent, Talbot at 9.1 percent, Meriwether at 10.3 percent, Stewart at 12.1 percent and Webster at 7.7 percent.
In Alabama, the May unemployment rate was 6.8 percent, down slightly from 6.9 percent in May. The rate for the Auburn-Opelika metro area rose from 4.9 percent in April to 5 percent in May.
Here are the May 2013 unemployment rates for Georgias metro areas:
Athens 6.2 percent
Gainesville 6.9 percent
Warner Robins 7.5 percent
Savannah 7.9 percent
Valdosta 8.1 percent
Atlanta 8.2 percent
Augusta 8.4 percent
Columbus 8.5 percent
Macon 9 percent
Hinesville 9.3 percent
Rome 9.3 percent
Albany 9.5 percent
Brunswick 9.6 percent
Dalton 10.7 percent