Columbus area jobless rate reaches 6.9 percent

Unemployment in the Columbus metro area is closing in on 7 percent.

The city's jobless rate rose from 6.7 percent in August to 6.9 percent in September, the Georgia Department of Labor reported Thursday.

That's sharply higher than the 5.7 percent rate city residents faced in September 2007.

It's also higher than the state's overall rate of 6.5 percent this September, the highest level in 16 years, the department said. The national rate is 6.1 percent.

"Job seekers should treat their search like a full-time job and fully utilize the employment services we provide," Georgia Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond said in a statement. "Our website site at www.dol.state.ga.us offers a wide range of information and assistance and our career center services include referral to job openings, job search workshops, resume writing assistance, computer access, and referral to education and training opportunities."

The department's Columbus Career Center is at 700 Veterans Parkway. It can be reached at 706-649-7423.

Last week, the department reported that the number of jobs in metro Columbus dropped 800 over the past year, from 121,600 to 120,800. From August to September, the number of jobs in Columbus fell 300.