Those living and working in the Columbus metro area can give thanks the unemployment rate didn’t rise any higher in October.
But at 6.2 percent, it didn’t improve either, with the jobless figure unchanged from September, the Georgia Department of Labor reported Thursday. The October rate compares to 6.5 percent a year ago.
That leaves the Columbus area now with the second-highest unemployment rate in the state, behind Warner Robins’ 6.7 percent.
The labor department did point out that first-time claims for unemployment assistance — which indicates fresh layoffs by employers — did slip from September to October in Columbus, with 50 fewer local residents seeking benefits. The total number of people filing claims last month was 676. In October a year ago, there were 732 individuals seeking help after being laid off.
The number of jobs in the Columbus metro area declined by 400 from September to October, the department said, with the total now at 122,700. The bulk of those losses were in professional and business services. Year over year, however, the metro area job total is up by 500. Those gains were in local government, leisure and hospitality, education and health services, and retail.
The labor force, meanwhile, stands at 126,009. That means there are 118,254 local people with a job and 7,755 without one but actively seeking a paycheck.
While Warner Robins and Columbus have the highest unemployment rates in Georgia, the lowest is 4.4 percent in Gainesville.
Georgia’s jobless rate in October was 5.2 percent, the department reported last week. The rate for the U.S. as a whole is now 4.9 percent.
The labor department encourages those in need of a job to check its online listing service at www.employgeorgia.com. The site had 70,200 new job opening posted in October, it said, with 2,704 of those in Columbus.
Here are the October 2016 unemployment rates for Georgia’s metro areas:
▪ Gainesville — 4.4 percent
▪ Athens — 4.8 percent
▪ Atlanta — 4.9 percent
▪ Savannah — 4.9 percent
▪ Valdosta — 5.1 percent
▪ Augusta — 5.6 percent
▪ Rome — 5.6 percent
▪ Brunswick — 5.7 percent
▪ Hinesville — 5.7 percent
▪ Macon — 5.9 percent
▪ Albany — 6 percent
▪ Dalton — 6 percent
▪ Columbus — 6.2 percent
▪ Warner Robins — 6.7 percent