Columbus-area unemployment rate at 7.6 percent in December

Job count dips slightly, new benefit claims rise from November to December

tadams@ledger-enquirer.comJanuary 30, 2014 

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

ROBIN TRIMARCHI — rtrimarchi@ledger-enquirer.com

The winter storm that hammered the state, closing the Georgia Department of Labor’s career centers Wednesday and again Thursday, didn’t stop the agency from releasing metro area unemployment rates.

The data released Thursday show the Columbus metro area holding steady at 7.6 percent in December, which is better than the 9 percent jobless rate a year ago.

The labor department said the local area actually saw a dip of 200 jobs in December, with the workforce now at 121,100. The job losses came in the leisure, hospitality and financial services sectors.

Compared to December a year ago, however, the Columbus metro area has gained 600 positions. Over that time, jobs have been added in professional and business services, leisure, hospitality, finance and retail.

The department also said that first-time unemployment benefit filings — which indicate layoffs in the market — jumped nearly 112 percent from November to December, with 2,379 individuals seeking assistance. That’s up by 1,259 claims from November.

Among Georgia’s metro areas, the University of Georgia and government hub of Athens once again had the lowest jobless rate at 5.2 percent. Dalton, the carpet manufacturing area of the state, was the highest at 9.5 percent, following a string of double-digit rates through the Great Recession.

Georgia, meanwhile, last week reported a December unemployment rate of 7.4 percent, which was down from 7.6 percent in November and 8.7 percent in December of 2012.

Alabama posted a rate of 6.1 percent in December, down from 6.2 percent in November and 6.8 percent in December the year prior.

Here are the December unemployment rates for Georgia’s metro areas:

• Athens — 5.2 percent

• Gainesville — 5.7 percent

• Savannah — 6.7 percent

• Warner Robins — 6.7 percent

• Atlanta — 6.8 percent

• Valdosta — 7 percent

• Augusta — 7.2 percent

• Columbus — 7.6 percent

• Macon — 7.6 percent

• Rome — 7.7 percent

• Albany — 8.2 percent

• Brunswick — 8.3 percent

• Hinesville — 8.3 percent

• Dalton — 9.5 percent

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