The fewest layoffs in six years was the catalyst for a slight dip in the state’s unemployment rate, the Georgia Department of Labor reported Thursday.
The rate declined from 8.8 percent in July to 8.7 percent in August, with layoffs tailing off noticeably from month to month. Part of that was because manufacturers brought back workers who were temporarily laid off in July, the department said.
“The primary reason the rate dropped is that we had a significant reduction in layoffs, in fact, the fewest since September 2007,” said Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. “Also, we had a small increase in the number of jobs.”
There were 3,000 jobs created month over month. However, the state has added 82,300 positions year over year. Atlanta accounted for more than 57,000 of those.
In metro area data released Thursday, Columbus joined Atlanta, Macon, Augusta, Athens, Gainesville and Valdosta with increases in their workforces year over year. Locally, the workforce rose by 200 to 120,000 residents with a job.
Columbus, like all other metro areas with the exception of Gainesville, also experienced a sharp decrease in first-time filings for unemployment benefits. There were 727 local individuals submitting filings, down by 333, or more than 31 percent, from August a year ago. There were more than 10,000 fewer Georgians filing claims for the first time from year to year.
Aside from manufacturing, the labor department said there also were fewer layoffs in construction, trade and administrative/support services in August.
The state did add 10,700 government jobs in August, much of that coming from school employees returning to work after the summer break. But many of those were offset by 7,700 lost jobs in the private sector areas of professional and business services.
“The job gains that we normally would have in August, especially in the private sector, occurred in June and July, two months in which we normally lose thousands of jobs,” Butler noted. “As far as the overall number of jobs, we are much better off this August than last.”
The department will release metro area unemployment rates next week. The Columbus metro area rate in July was 9.2 percent.
GEORGIA’S METRO AREAS
Here are the August 2013 job totals for Georgia’s metro areas:
Atlanta — 2,415,900
Macon — 99,900
Augusta — 216,600
Athens — 88,700
Gainesville — 76,300
Valdosta — 54,200
Columbus — 120,000
Hinesville — 19,700
Savannah — 157,400
Dalton — 62,900
Brunswick — 40,500
Warner Robins — 59,000
Albany — 61,100
Rome — 38,600
* Source: Georgia Department of Labor