Unemployment hovers above 10 percent

ALBANY, Ga. -- More than 100 counties in Georgia have an unemployment rate at 10 percent or higher, which puts Southwest Georgia in good company.

While the unemployment rate did decline in Albany in February, the rate was at 10.7 percent -- just one-tenth of a percentage lower than the January rate.

Meanwhile, the preliminary unadjusted unemployment rate in the Southwest Georgia area remained at 10.5 percent in February.

The rate in Albany declined because the number of jobs increased by 500 and there were fewer layoffs in manufacturing, construction and administrative and support services, officials with the Georgia Department of Labor reported Thursday.

The Albany rate was 11.3 percent at the same time a year ago, while the Southwest Georgia rate was 11.2 percent.

Over the month, unemployment rates decreased in 20 of the state's 25 metro areas. Athens had the state's lowest recorded rate for February at 7.7 percent, while Dalton had the highest at 12.2 percent.

In a county-by-county breakdown of unemployment rates for last month, Dougherty was at 11.5 percent, Lee was at 8 percent, Worth was at 11.8 percent, Terrell was at 11.6 percent and Baker was at 9.5 percent. For the state overall, Hancock County had the highest rate at 24.2 percent, while Oconee County had the lowest rate at 6.7 percent.

Georgia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in February was 10.2 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point from January. February marks the 41st consecutive month that the state has exceeded the national rate -- which is currently 8.9 percent.

Of the 159 counties in Georgia, 114 of them currently have an unemployment rate of 10 percent or higher. Twenty-two counties have a rate at 9-9.9 percent, 14 counties have a rate at 8-8.9 percent and nine counties have a rate lower than 8 percent.