Georgia’s unemployment rate took a slight dip to 7.3 percent in January, from 7.4 percent in December, the Georgia Department of Labor said Thursday. The December rate was adjusted from the 7.6 percent rate initially reported by the agency .
That compares to a jobless rate of 8.6 percent in January last year.
“This is the seventh consecutive month that the unemployment rate has declined,” Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said in a statement. “The rate fell because 15,928 more Georgians were employed and the number of new layoffs for January fell to the lowest level in eight years.”
Notably, the department said 58,091 people filed for first-time unemployment assistance in January, the lowest total since pre-recession 2006, when just under 54,000 sought benefits. Those compare to about 71,500 new filings in January last year.
Overall, the state lost 56,200 jobs from December to January, the department said, with part of that the seasonal dropoff from holiday hiring. The job losses were in most sectors, however.
Metro area data released Thursday showed Columbus adding 1,000 jobs from January 2013 to January 2014, with the area’s workforce at 120,200. The only metro areas to lose jobs year over year were Augusta, Hinesville, Warner Robins and Brunswick, the latter two bleeding 1,300 and 1,000 positions, respectively.
Every metro area, with the exception of Savannah, saw first-time filings for unemployment benefits drop year over year. There were 1,741 people filing new claims in Columbus in January, 211 fewer than in January a year earlier.
The metro area jobless rates for January are expected to be released next week. The rate for Columbus in December was 7.6 percent.
GEORGIA’S METRO AREAS
Here are the January 2014 workforce totals for Georgia’s metro areas:
Atlanta — 2,409,600
Augusta — 215,800
Savannah — 159,900
Columbus — 120,200
Macon — 97,800
Athens — 88,300
Gainesville — 76,600
Dalton — 62,900
Albany — 60,700
Warner Robins — 58,300
Valdosta — 53,700
Brunswick — 39,400
Rome — 38,900
Hinesville — 19,700