Fewer layoffs in various sectors, combined with students heading back to school and departing summer jobs, added up to a 9.3 percent August unemployment rate in the Columbus metro area, down from 9.8 percent in July.
The Georgia Department of Labor reported today that the sliding jobless rate was impacted by 517 fewer layoffs in manufacturing, construction, trade and back-office jobs such as administrative and support services.
The metro area also saw its labor force slide by 1,316 positions, the department said, some of that the result of high school and college students giving up their summer employment to hit the books again.
The Columbus unemployment rate a year ago was 9.6 percent.
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The local decline was mirrored across Georgia, with every metro area seeing its rate drop in August. Athens had the lowest at 6.7 percent, while the highest was in Dalton at 11.6 percent.
Georgia’s jobless rate in August, reported a week ago, came in at 9.2 percent, while Alabama’s was 8.5 percent.The pace of mass layoffs have slowed considerably this year in Georgia, with just under 5,200 reported to the labor department through this week. There were nearly 10,000 layoffs statewide in both 2011 and 2010.
The high water mark came in 2009, when nearly 23,500 Georgians lost their job in a mass layoff. That was as the U.S. economy was officially exiting the Great Recession, although recovery has been sluggish. There were about 19,200 mass layoffs in 2008, according to the labor department.
Breaking down the August unemployment rate in surrounding Georgia counties, Muscogee came in at 9.2 percent, Harris at 6.5 percent, Troup at 10 percent, Meriwether at 11.4 percent, Talbot at 9.3 percent, Marion at 8.4 percent, Webster at 7.8 percent, Stewart at 11.6 percent and Chattahoochee at 18.7 percent.
In nearby Alabama counties, the August jobless rate was 11.1 percent in Russell, 7.4 percent in Lee, 13.2 percent in Barbour, 10.8 percent in Chambers, 11.5 percent in Macon, 17.1 percent in Bullock and 10.2 percent in Tallapoosa.
The September unemployment rates for Georgia, Alabama and the states’ metro areas will be reported in late October, just a couple of weeks before the presidential and congressional elections.
HOW METRO AREAS FARED
Here are the August 2012 jobless rates for Georgia’s metro areas, from lowest to highest:
Athens — 6.7 percent
Gainesville — 7.2 percent
Warner Robins — 7.6 percent
Savannah — 8.6 percent
Valdosta — 8.7 percent
Atlanta — 8.9 percent
Hinesville — 9.1 percent
Columbus — 9.3 percent
Augusta — 9.4 percent
Macon — 9.7 percent
Albany — 9.9 percent
Brunswick — 10.1 percent
Rome — 10.3 percent
Dalton — 11.6 percent