Metro Columbus’ unemployment rate in December was 6.3 percent, up three-tenths of a percentage point from 6 percent in November, the Georgia Department of Labor announced Thursday.
In December 2015, the rate was also 6.3 percent.
The rate rose as the labor force grew and the number of new layoffs increased.
The labor force, which consists of employed residents and those who are unemployed but actively looking for jobs, grew by 841 to 127,402. The number of unemployed residents rose by 344 to 7,972, while the number employed increased 497 to 119,430.
The number of initial claims for unemployment insurance, a measure of new layoffs, rose by 375, or 50.9 percent, to 1,112 in December. Most of the increase came in manufacturing, construction, trade, transportation and warehousing, along with administrative and support services. Over the year, claims were down by 902, or 44.8 percent, from 2,014 in December 2015.
The number of jobs in Columbus increased by 400, or 0.3 percent, to 124,300. Most of the job gains came in professional and business services.
Over the year, 1,400 jobs were added, a 1.1 percent growth rate, up from 122,900 in December 2015. Most of the job growth came in trade, transportation and warehousing, leisure and hospitality and local government.
Metro Gainesville had the lowest area jobless rate at 4.2 percent, while the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha and River Valley regions had the highest at 6.6 percent.
Meanwhile, Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for December was 5.4 percent, up from 5.3 percent in November. It was 5.5 percent in December 2015.
Job seekers and employers are encouraged to use the GDOL’s online job listing service, employgeorgia.com to search for jobs or recruit new employers. In December, 1,970 new job openings in Columbus were posted on Employ Georgia. Throughout the state, 57,920 new job openings were posted.