Metro Albany's unemployment rate declines to 9.8 percent in July

ALBANY – The Georgia Department of Labor announced Thursday that metro Albany’s unemployment rate decreased to 9.8 percent in July, down four-tenths of a percentage point from 10.2 percent in June.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate in the Southwest Georgia region decreased to 9.5 percent in July, down from a rate of 9.8 percent the previous month.

The metro rate was 10.1 percent in July a year ago, and 9.7 percent at the same time last year in the Southwest Georgia region.

The Albany rate declined because 997 more residents became employed, pushing the total number to 67,289, plus there was an increase in the number of jobs. There were 61,200 jobs in July in metro Albany, up by 400 from 60,800 in June. State government shed 200 jobs, but the loss was tempered by gains in the service-related industries, including trade and transportation.

The area has gained 200 jobs since July 2012, officials at the Labor Department said.

In Southwest Georgia, the rate declined, officials say, because the number of unemployed residents declined by 444 to 15,600. There were 148,458 employed residents.

The Albany labor force, which reflects the number of people in the area employed plus those unemployed but actively looking for work, rose by 804 to 74,591 in July, up from 73,787 in June, and was down by 1,186 from what is was in July 2012. In Southwest Georgia, the labor force rose by 760 to 164,058 in July, up from 163,298 in June, and was down by 2,491 from July 2012, labor officials said Thursday.

“Our area had a good month. In addition to the unemployment rate declining over the last month, we also saw the labor force expanding. That speaks to improving prospects in July,” said Aaron Johnson, assistant professor of economics at Darton State College. “It is also worth noting that our area outperformed the state in terms of a declining unemployment rate and more job growth, which is a departure from previous trends.

“As we look to the future, we will need to monitor the role rising gas prices will have on consumer spending, along with uncertainty arising from potentially more congressional gridlock.”

Of the 14 metro areas in the state, Athens had the lowest rate at 6.9 percent, while Dalton had the highest at 12.3 percent. Of the 11 regional areas, the Georgia Mountains area had the lowest rate at 7.9 percent while the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest rate at 12.3 percent.

Eleven metro areas saw a decline in their jobless rates from June, two saw a rise and one rate was unchanged. Six regional areas saw decline, three saw a rise and two were unchanged.

Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for July was 8.8 percent, up from 8.5 percent in June. The rate was 9.1 percent in July a year ago.