Columbus metro area unemployment rate slips to 7.6 percent in March

Local work force rises to 121,100 jobs, while area sees fewer new filings for jobless benefits

tadams@ledger-enquirer.comApril 24, 2014 

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

ROBIN TRIMARCHI — rtrimarchi@ledger-enquirer.com

The Columbus metropolitan area unemployment dipped ever so slightly to 7.6 percent in March, from 7.7 percent in February, the Georgia Department of Labor reported Thursday.

In March a year ago, the rate was 8.4 percent. The Columbus metro area includes the Georgia counties of Muscogee, Harris, Chattahoochee and Marion, and Russell County in Alabama.

The department reported the Columbus metro area work force in March was 121,100, an increase of 400 jobs from February. Over the past year, the local area has added 600 positions; the work force was 120,500 in March 2013.

Sectors experiencing employment increases were leisure/hospitality, professional/business services, and finance/insurance.

The Columbus metro area also had 723 new filings for unemployment benefits last month, the department said, which was sharply lower than the 1,148 first-time filings in February. A year ago, there were 973 new filings.

Among Georgia’s metro areas, the University of Georgia and government hub of Athens once again had the lowest jobless rate in the state at 5.1 percent, while the carpet manufacturing area of Dalton again was the highest at 8.6 percent. Dalton continues to narrow the rate gap between it and other state metro areas, however.

The department reported last week that Georgia’s unemployment rate in March was 7 percent, down from 7.1 percent in February. Here are the March 2014 unemployment rates for Georgia’s metro areas:

• Athens — 5.1 percent

• Gainesville — 5.5 percent

• Warner Robins — 6.4 percent

• Augusta — 6.6 percent

• Savannah — 6.7 percent

• Atlanta — 6.8 percent

• Valdosta — 7 percent

• Rome — 7.2 percent

• Macon — 7.3 percent

• Columbus — 7.6 percent

• Albany — 8 percent

• Hinesville — 8 percent

• Brunswick — 8.2 percent

• Dalton — 8.6 percent

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