Columbus metro area unemployment rate dips to 7.6 percent in November

tadams@ledger-enquirer.comDecember 26, 2013 

Closely mirroring Georgia as a whole, the Columbus metro area unemployment rate declined to 7.6 percent in November with the addition of 900 jobs locally, the Georgia Department of Labor reported Thursday.

That figure was down from 8.3 percent in October and is near the 7.7 percent rate in Georgia last month. The Columbus metro area is comprised of five counties — Muscogee, Harris, Chattahoochee and Marion in Georgia, and Russell in Alabama.

The Columbus rate in November a year ago was 8.3 percent, which is the lowest level in five years, when the metro area jobless rate was 7.1 percent nearly a year into the Great Recession. The Georgia number last month was the state’s lowest since November 2008 as well.

The labor department said the Columbus metro area experienced a surge in 900 new jobs in November, with those spread in the sectors of trade, transportation, warehousing, finance and insurance. That put the total workforce at 121,200, up from 120,300 in October. A year ago, the workforce stood at 120,700.

The department also said the number of Columbus residents now officially classified as unemployed is at 9,778, down from 10,640 in October. In November of 2012, there were just under 11,000 people unemployed locally.

Meanwhile, the Georgia metro area with the lowest jobless rate last month was Athens at 5.1 percent, while the highest was Dalton at 9.4 percent. The latter metro area, long a carpet manufacturing hub, has persistently been above 10 percent for several years.

Breaking down unemployment rates in Georgia counties around the Columbus area, Muscogee in November was at 8 percent, Harris at 5.9 percent, Troup at 7.9 percent, Chattahoochee at 15.3 percent, Marion at 7.2 percent, Talbot at 8.2 percent, Meriwether at 8.9 percent, Stewart at 10.1 percent and Webster at 7.9 percent.

In Alabama, the November unemployment rate was 6.2 percent. Among area counties, the jobless figure was 6.7 percent in Russell, 4.5 percent in Lee, 6.1 percent in Chambers, 7.6 percent in Macon, 8.8 percent in Barbour, 11.9 percent in Bullock and 6.8 percent in Tallapoosa.

HOW METRO AREAS FARED

Here are the November 2013 unemployment rates in Georgia’s metro areas:

• Athens — 5.1 percent

• Gainesville — 5.9 percent

• Warner Robins — 6.4 percent

• Savannah — 6.8 percent

• Atlanta — 7 percent

• Valdosta — 7.2 percent

• Augusta — 7.4 percent

• Columbus — 7.6 percent

• Macon — 7.6 percent

• Rome — 7.6 percent

• Albany — 8.2 percent

• Hinesville — 8.4 percent

• Brunswick — 8.5 percent

• Dalton — 9.4 percent

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