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Columbus metro area unemployment rate declines to 8.6 percent in March

An easing of layoffs in the construction, office jobs, hospitality and food-service sectors nudged unemployment lower in the Columbus metropolitan area in March.

The Georgia Department of Labor reported today that the local area’s jobless rate last month came in at 8.6 percent, improved from a revised 8.9 percent in February.

A year ago, the metro area’s rate was 9.2 percent. The Columbus metro includes Muscogee, Harris and Chattahoochee counties in Georgia and Russell County in Alabama.

All of Georgia’s metro areas saw their rates decline. The University of Georgia and government-employment city of Athens was the lowest in the state at 6.7 percent, however. The former carpet-manufacturing hub comprised of Rome and Dalton took the dubious position of highest rates in Georgia at 10.3 percent and 11.6 percent, respectively.

Georgia’s unemployment figure in March was 9 percent, the department reported a week ago, while the rate last month in Alabama was 7.3 percent, the state’s Department of Industrial Relations said.

Breaking down area counties and their March unemployment rates, in Georgia, Muscogee came in at 8.8 percent, Harris at 6.6 percent, Chattahoochee at 15.9 percent, Troup at 9.8 percent, Talbot at 8.9 percent, Taylor at 11.9 percent, Marion at 7.5 percent, Schley at 12 percent, Stewart at 11.2 percent and Webster at 7.9 percent.

In Alabama, Russell County was at 9.3 percent, Lee at 6.2 percent, Chambers at 9.4 percent, Barbour at 10.5 percent, Macon at 10.1 percent, Bullock at 12 percent and Tallapoosa at 9 percent.

METRO AREA JOBLESS RATES

Here are the March 2012 unemployment rates for Georgia’s metro areas:

Athens — 6.7 percent

Gainesville — 7.2 percent

Warner Robins — 7.3 percent

Savannah — 8.3 percent

Valdosta — 8.4 percent

Columbus — 8.6 percent

Augusta — 8.6 percent

Atlanta — 8.7 percent

Hinesville — 8.7 percent

Macon — 9.4 percent

Albany — 9.6 percent

Brunswick — 9.9 percent

Rome — 10.3 percent

Dalton — 11.6 percent

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