Columbus metro area unemployment rate is unchanged at 9.2 percent in July

Blue Cross Blue Shield in hiring mode, with Pratt & Whitney gaining jobs from Texas

tadams@ledger-enquirer.comAugust 22, 2013 

The unemployment rate in the Columbus metro area remained steady at 9.2 percent in July, the same as in June, the Georgia Department of Labor reported Thursday.

In July a year ago, the Columbus rate was 9.7 percent.

The area lost 800 jobs from month to month, with the local labor force rising by 151 residents to 131,892. That’s the number of people employed, as well as those out of work but actively seeking a job. The employed workforce total in July was 119,700.

The area’s performance comes with health insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia saying this week that it plans to add 400 jobs locally on top of 200 previously announced. The bulk of those are claims processing and customer service, the company said.

Aerospace firm Pratt & Whitney also confirmed its plans to expand into Muscogee Technology Park, with about 45 jobs being created when the jet engine overhaul facility opens in early 2014. The city is gaining work from an engine center being closed in San Antonio, Texas.

Looking at the highs and lows of Georgia’s metro areas, the University of Georgia hub of Athens had the lowest jobless rate at 6.9 percent in July. The northwest Georgia community of Dalton — which has bled carpet manufacturing jobs in recent years — had the worst figure at 12.3 percent.

Georgia as a whole had an 8.3 percent unemployment rate in July, while Alabama came in much better at 6.3 percent.

Breaking down area counties in Georgia, the July jobless rate for Muscogee came in at 9.6 percent, Harris at 7.3 percent, Troup at 10.8 percent, Chattahoochee at 18.2 percent Meriwether at 16.2 percent, Talbot at 10.3 percent, Taylor at 12.4 percent, Marion at 7.6 percent and Stewart at 12 percent.

In area Alabama counties, the unemployment rate in July was 8.9 percent in Russell, 5.5 percent in Lee, 8.3 percent in Chambers, 10.1 percent in Barbour, 9.5 percent in Macon, 12.3 percent in Bullock and 8.9 percent in Tallapoosa.

GEORGIA’S METRO AREAS

Here are the July 2013 unemployment rates for the state’s metro areas:

• Athens — 6.9 percent

• Gainesville — 7.5 percent

• Warner Robins — 8.1 percent

• Atlanta — 8.6 percent

• Savannah — 8.7 percent

• Valdosta — 8.7 percent

• Augusta — 9.1 percent

• Columbus — 9.2 percent

• Macon — 9.5 percent

• Albany — 9.8 percent

• Brunswick — 10 percent

• Hinesville — 10 percent

• Rome — 10.2 percent

• Dalton — 12.3 percent

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