Georgia unemployment rate slides to 8.3 percent in September, 8.1 percent in October

First-time benefit filings decline year over year in most metro areas, including Columbus

tadams@ledger-enquirer.comNovember 21, 2013 

The Georgia Department of Labor offices on Seventh Street and Veterans Parkway. 10.03.13

ROBIN TRIMARCHI — rtrimarchi@ledger-enquirer.com

A steadily improving job market has put a dent in Georgia’s unemployment rate, which registered 8.1 percent in October.

That’s down from 8.3 percent in September and 8.7 percent in August, the Georgia Department of Labor reported Thursday.

September’s rate wasn’t released last month because of the federal government shutdown, it noted, with states not allowed to issue data that had not been reviewed first.

“We’ve seen Georgia gain almost 30,000 jobs over the last two months,” said state labor commissioner Mark Butler. “The good thing about the job creation is that it’s pretty much through all sectors.”

The department said the 4,078,700 jobs across the state in October is the highest level since November 2008.

Sectors seeing the largest increases were trade and transportation, education and health services, and government, the latter of which is still in the red year over year, having lost 8,100 jobs in the last 12 months.

Manufacturing and construction both added more than 1,000 jobs from September to October, with Butler calling that an important improvement for the state.

In the category of first-time filings for unemployment benefits, they rose by nearly 6,000 to 40,132 from September to October. But compared to October a year ago, they were down from 51,495, a decline of 22 percent.

The department is scheduled to release the September and October unemployment rates for Georgia’s metro areas on Thanksgiving Day. The jobless rate for Columbus in August was 8.5 percent.

Metro area data issued Thursday showed the Columbus metro area adding 100 jobs since October 2012. It was among 10 metros picking up positions, with only Rome, Hinesville, Brunswick and Warner Robins losing jobs year over year.

Like most of the state, Columbus had fewer residents file for first-time jobless benefits, with 1,114 people seeking assistance in October, down by 275 filings from a year ago. Albany, Hinesville and Brunswick were the only cities seeing such filings rise.

GEORGIA’S METRO AREAS

Here are the October 2013 work force totals for Georgia’s metro areas:

• Atlanta — 2,434,400

• Augusta — 215,600

• Savannah — 159,600

• Columbus — 120,300

• Macon — 100,300

• Athens — 90,500

• Gainesville — 76,500

• Dalton — 63,700

• Albany — 61,800

• Warner Robins — 58,900

• Valdosta — 54,300

• Brunswick — 40,200

• Rome — 39,200

• Hines — 19,600

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