A mix of 700 new jobs and a 34 percent drop in new layoffs added up to a slight decline in the Columbus metro area unemployment rate, which came in at 7.8 percent in February.
That’s down from a revised rate of 8 percent in January, the Georgia Department of Labor reported Thursday, and compares to 8.9 percent in February last year.
The department said the number of jobs in the Columbus area in February registered 120,800, up from 120,100 the month before. The sectors experiencing increases were state government, leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, and finance and insurance.
Compared to February a year ago, the workforce total is 500 positions higher. There were 120,300 jobs in the metro area at that time.
The department also reported that new claims for unemployment benefits dipped from January to February, with 1,148 first-time filings last month compared to 1,741 in January. However, both of those figures are higher than a year ago February, when 882 local first-time jobless claims were filed with the state.
Among Georgia’s metro areas, Athens had the lowest unemployment rate at 5.1 percent in February. The highest was in Dalton at 9.1 percent.
Georgia’s February jobless rate, reported last week , came in at 7.1 percent.
Here are the Georgia metro area unemployment rates for February 2013:
Athens — 5.1 percent
Gainesville — 5.6 percent
Warner Robins — 6.4 percent
Savannah — 6.6 percent
Augusta — 6.7 percent
Atlanta — 6.9 percent
Valdosta — 7 percent
Macon — 7.5 percent
Rome — 7.5 percent
Columbus — 7.8 percent
Albany — 8 percent
Hinesville — 8 percent
Brunswick — 8.5 percent
Dalton — 9.1 percent