Columbus metro area unemployment rate rises to 9.3 percent in June as schools let out, graduates jump into job market

tadams@ledger-enquirer.comJuly 25, 2013 

The Columbus metro area unemployment rate climbed from 8.5 percent in May to 9.3 percent in June, the Georgia Department of Labor reported Thursday.

That compares to a 9.7 percent rate in June of last year, with the department attributing much of the rise in joblessness to school workers on summer furloughs and recent high school and college graduates sticking their toes into the job market.

The local metro area includes Muscogee, Harris, Chattahoochee and Marion counties in Georgia and Russell County in Alabama. Fort Benning soldiers are not counted as employed in Chattahoochee County, where much of the post is located.

The labor department said the Columbus area’s workforce total was steady at 120,600 from May to June, although it has gained 400 positions over the past year.

The local labor force — which includes those out of work but actively seeking a job — stands at 131,849, up slightly from May, but down roughly 1,000 people from June a year ago.

Among Georgia’s metro areas, Athens posted the lowest rate at 7.2 percent, while Dalton was highest at 11.6 percent.

Meanwhile, the Alabama unemployment rate in June was 6.5 percent, which is down from 6.8 percent in May and compares to 7.6 percent in June a year ago.

The Auburn-Opelika metro area jobless rate in June was 5.8 percent, up from 5 percent in May. That’s the lowest metro area figure in Alabama, topping Birmingham-Hoover and Huntsville, both at 5.9 percent. Auburn-Opelika’s jobless number in June a year ago was 7.6 percent.

GEORGIA METRO AREAS

Here are the June 2013 workforce totals for Georgia’s metro areas:

• Albany — 10.2 percent

• Athens — 7.2 percent

• Atlanta — 8.9 percent

• Augusta — 9.3 percent

• Brunswick — 10.3 percent

• Columbus — 9.3 percent

• Dalton — 11.6 percent

• Gainesville — 7.6 percent

• Hinesville — 10.2 percent

• Macon — 9.8 percent

• Rome — 9.8 percent

• Savannah — 8.8 percent

• Valdosta — 9.1 percent

• Warners Robins — 8.3 percent

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