The unemployment picture continued to improve in the Columbus metro area last month, figures released today by the Georgia Department of Labor show.
The jobless rate in April came in at 8.4 percent, down from 8.6 percent in March and from 8.9 percent a year ago. Columbus was among 11 Georgia metro areas to experience a decline in their rates, with Savannah the only city to see its number rise. The rates in Warner Robins and Hinesville were unchanged.
The department noted this is the lowest unemployment rate for Columbus in three years. The Great Recession was still roiling U.S. and global economies at that time. It said there were fewer layoffs locally, while employers added about 1,000 new jobs.
At opposite ends of the unemployment pole were Athens, with the lowest rate in Georgia at 6.5 percent, and Dalton the highest, sitting at 11.4 percent amid the downward spiral of the carpet industry.
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Georgia’s jobless rate, meanwhile, was 8.9 percent in April, the labor department reported a week ago. Alabama continues to easily outperform its neighbor, with the state posting a 7.2 percent rate last month.
Breaking down the unemployment rates in surrounding Georgia counties in April, Harris County came in at 6.2 percent, Troup at 9.6 percent, Chattahoochee at 16.1 percent, Meriwether at 9.5 percent, Talbot at 8.7 percent, Taylor at 11.7 percent, Schley at 12 percent, Marion at 7.5 percent, Stewart at 11.1 percent and Webster at 8.3 percent.
In surrounding Alabama counties, Lee had the lowest jobless rate in April at 5.6 percent, while Russell was at 8.6 percent, Barbour at 9.8 percent, Chambers at 8.6 percent, Macon at 9.2 percent, Tallapoosa at 8 percent and Bullock at 11.6 percent.
METRO AREA RATES
Here are the April 2012 unemployment rates for Georgia’s metro areas:
Albany — down to 9.5 percent
Athens — down to 6.5 percent
Atlanta — down to 8.5 percent
Augusta — down to 8.4 percent
Brunswick — down to 9.7 percent
Columbus — down to 8.4 percent
Dalton — 11.4 percent
Gainesville — down to 6.9 percent
Hinesville — unchanged at 8.6 percent
Macon — down to 9.2 percent
Rome — down to 10.1 percent
Savannah — up to 8.4 percent
Valdosta — down to 8.1 percent
Warner Robins — unchanged at 7.2 percent