The unemployment rate for the Columbus metropolitan area leaped to 7 percent in July, up from 6.3 percent in June, the Georgia Department of Labor reported Thursday.
That compares to a statewide rate of 6.2 percent — its highest since March 1993 — and a national rate of 5.7 percent.
"We are experiencing a rising tide of unemployment not seen in Georgia in more than 15 years," State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond said in a statement. "The surge of jobless workers into our career centers is challenging our ability to keep pace with the demand for assistance at a time when it is most needed. We ask our customers for their patience and cooperation as we work together to meet and overcome these economic challenges.”
There currently are 304,536 Georgians out of work, the department said. First-time unemployment benefit claims rose 30 percent in July to 59,165.
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No sector has avoided job losses, the department said, including manufacturing, construction, trade and services.
Preliminary data show Georgia lost 46,600 payroll jobs, or 1.1 percent, from June to July.
Columbus' work force declined by 1,500 jobs, or 1.2 percent, from 121,700 to 120,200.