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Columbus metro area August unemployment rate is highest in Georgia

The Georgia Department of Labor operates the Columbus Career Center at 700 Veterans Parkway. The state agency said Thursday that Georgia's unemployment rate rose from 4.9 percent in August to 5.1 percent in September. -- Photo by Tony Adams
The Georgia Department of Labor operates the Columbus Career Center at 700 Veterans Parkway. The state agency said Thursday that Georgia's unemployment rate rose from 4.9 percent in August to 5.1 percent in September. -- Photo by Tony Adams Ledger-Enquirer

The Columbus metro area unemployment rate slipped from 6.4 percent in July to 6.2 percent in August, the Georgia Department of Labor reported Thursday. That compares to a jobless rate of 7 percent in August a year ago.

Despite the drop from July, the 6.2 percent August rate is the highest in Georgia, with Columbus and Albany sharing that distinction. Among the state’s metro areas, the northeast Georgia community of Gainesville has the lowest unemployment rate at 4.4 percent.

The labor department said, in essence, that the Columbus area added about 100 jobs month to month, and that modest increase combined with fewer layoffs, naturally, lowered the rate slightly. Most of the job gains came from local schools reopening, it said.

Year over year, Columbus has picked up about 800 jobs, giving the metro area a total of 122,400 in August. Those job gains were in retail, leisure and hospitality, and local government.

First-time claims for unemployment assistance, meanwhile, dropped by 106 from July, with 810 local residents filing for benefits in August after being laid off. Those claims typically are an indicator of fresh layoffs.

The department said the Columbus metro area labor force fell by 1,364 individuals, with the city having a total of 125,090 in its labor force in August. The labor force is comprised of those people who are employed and those without a job, but actively seeking work.

Georgia’s jobless rate in August, reported last week, was 4.9 percent, which was down from 5 percent in July and lower than the 5.6 percent it experienced a year ago.

Here are the August 2016 unemployment rates for Georgia’s metro areas:

▪ Gainesville — 4.4 percent

▪ Savannah — 4.9 percent

▪ Athens — 5 percent

▪ Atlanta — 5 percent

▪ Valdosta — 5.1 percent

▪ Brunswick — 5.3 percent

▪ Warner Robins — 5.4 percent

▪ Macon — 5.6 percent

▪ Hinesville — 5.7 percent

▪ Augusta — 5.8 percent

▪ Dalton — 5.9 percent

▪ Rome — 5.9 percent

▪ Albany — 6.2 percent

▪ Columbus — 6.2 percent

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