The Columbus metro area unemployment rate declined to 8.5 percent in August, down from 9.2 percent in July, the Georgia Department of Labor reported Thursday.
A year ago, the jobless rate was 9.2 percent.
The drop was the result of the sliding number of layoffs, combined with some job creation, the department said. Specifically, there were 560 fewer layoffs from month to month, with 727 first-time claim filings for unemployment assistance. The number of first-time filings also are down 333 from August a year ago.
Columbus gained 500 jobs from July to August, with the city's active workforce at 120,000, the bulk of job creation coming in local government, the department said. Year over year, the city's job count is up by 200.
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The city's labor force -- the number of people either with a job or actively seeking one -- declined from 131,849 to 130,135 from July to August, a difference of 1,724 people.
Among Georgia's metro areas, Athens posted the lowest August unemployment rate at 6.1 percent, while Dalton was the highest at 10.3 percent.
Last week, the labor department reported an August jobless rate of 8.7 percent for Georgia as a whole. The rate for Alabama came in at 6.3 percent.
Here are the August 2013 unemployment rates for Georgia's metro areas:
* Athens -- 6.1 percent
* Gainesville -- 6.6 percent
* Warner Robins -- 7.4 percent
* Savannah -- 7.8 percent
* Valdosta -- 7.9 percent
* Atlanta -- 8 percent
* Augusta -- 8.5 percent
* Columbus -- 8.5 percent
* Macon -- 8.7 percent
* Rome -- 8.8 percent
* Albany -- 9.1 percent
* Brunswick -- 9.3 percent
* Hinesville -- 9.3 percent
* Dalton -- 10.3 percent