ALBANY, Ga. — The Georgia Department of Labor announced Thursday that the preliminary unemployment rate in metro Albany declined to 9.9 percent in August, down four-tenths of a percentage point from 10.3 percent in July.
The rate was 10.8 percent in August 2011.
The rate decreased because there were 211 fewer layoffs in manufacturing, administrative and support services and health care and social assistance. The area’s labor force declined by 926, partially because some students left summer jobs to return to school, officials with the Labor Department said.
The Department of Labor also said that the preliminary unemployment rate in the Southwest Georgia area had declined to 9.5 percent in August, down from 9.8 percent in July.
The rate was 10.2 percent at the same time in 2011. The regional rate from last month decreased because there were 465 fewer layoffs in manufacturing, wholesale trade, professional and technical services, administrative and support services and health care and social assistance.
Also, the area’s labor force declined by 2,411, according to labor officials.
“Overall, this represents some improvement. Even when making seasonal adjustments, there is still an increase in employment in the Albany area,” said Aaron Johnson, assistant professor of economics at Darton State College. “Over the last five months, we have seen job growth in four of those months, so that should provide some level of optimism. Even though it’s been modest, our rate of improvement over that same time period has been faster than either Valdosta or Brunswick.
“However, it should be acknowledged that part of the lower unemployment rate is due to the fact that we have seen a slight decline in the labor force. When people leave the labor force due to diminished prospects in getting a job, then that artificially lowers the unemployment rate, too.”
A county-by-county breakdown of unemployment rates for August shows Dougherty to be at 10.9 percent, Lee to be at 7.7 percent, Worth to be at 9.3 percent, Terrell to be at 10 percent and Baker to be at 8.7 percent.
By metro area, Gainesville had the lowest rate for August at 7.2 percent, while Dalton had the highest at 11.6 percent. By region, the Georgia Mountains area had the lowest rate at 7.8 percent while the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha area had the highest at 12.2 percent.
Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 9.2 percent in August, unchanged from July. The jobless rate was 9.9 percent in August a year ago.
The number of jobs in the state rose by 25,100 from 3.914 million in July to 3.939 million in August. Georgia has created 49,700 jobs since August 2011, when there were 3.889 million jobs, Labor Department officials say.
In metro Albany, jobs increased to 59,700 in August. This is up by 400 from July, and up by 500 from August 2011.