Columbus unemployment rate slips to 5.6 percent

The Columbus metro area unemployment rate slipped slightly from January to February, the Georgia Department of Labor reported Thursday.

The February rate is 5.6 percent, down from 5.8 percent the month before.

The local jobless rate is higher than the 5.3 percent Georgia rate reported last week by the department. The state's rate climbed from 5.1 percent in January.

Georgia is close to the U.S. employment rate of 5.2 percent.

The Labor Department said the number of unemployed people rose by 7,086 in Georgia in February. Another 5,152 people exited the job market.

Still, Georgia added 16,500 payroll jobs in February, while Columbus picked up 700. The city's work force now stands at 121,300.