A surge in new jobs pushed the Columbus metro area unemployment rate lower to 7.2 percent in April, down from 7.6 percent in March, the Georgia Department of Labor reported Thursday.
State labor commissioner Mark Butler called the decline “healthy,” particularly when it is compared to 7.9 percent in April a year ago.
“We saw a very good gain in jobs for the Columbus area,” he said. “We saw jobs increase by 800, which is a very good over the month job growth. Some of the top sectors that showed job growth were retail trade, professional and business services, and also some state government growth.”
First-time claims for jobless benefits in the metro area dipped by more than 8 percent from March, he noted, while they are down nearly 7 percent from a year ago. There were 782 new claims, which represent layoffs, filed with the state in April.
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However, that was offset by the 800 jobs created by new employers over the previous month. The Columbus metro area now has 122,100 jobs. The labor force stands at 129,875, with 9,371 people in the local area classified as unemployed but actively seeking new work.
The metro area with the lowest unemployment rate once again was Athens at 4.9 percent, while the highest again is in Dalton at 8.2 percent. The textile manufacturing hub is the only metro area still above 8 percent.
Last week, the department reported that Georgia’s unemployment rate in April was 7 percent, unchanged from March, but still lower than 8.3 percent in April of last year.
Here are the April unemployment rates in Georgia’s metro areas:
Athens — 4.9 percent
Gainesville — 5.6 percent
Warner Robins — 6.1 percent
Savannah — 6.2 percent
Augusta — 6.3 percent
Atlanta — 6.5 percent
Valdosta — 6.7 percent
Columbus — 7.2 percent
Macon — 7 percent
Rome — 7 percent
Albany — 7.6 percent
Hinesville — 7.6 percent
Brunswick — 7.8 percent
Dalton — 8.2 percent