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Albany unemployment rate decreases in August

ALBANY — The Georgia Department of Labor announced Thursday that metro Albany’s unemployment rate declined to 9.1 percent in August, down seven-tenths of a percentage point from 9.8 percent in July.

Overall unemployment rate for Southwest Georgia dropped to 8.8 percent in August, down from 9.5 percent last month.

Metro Albany’s jobless rate for this period last year was 9.7 percent, while the rate for Southwest Georgia for last August was 9.4 percent.

The rate decline in Albany can be attributed to a reduction in layoffs and an increase in the number of jobs. There were 683 new layoffs, which is 206, or 23.2 percent, fewer than the 889 in July. Much of the decline came from reductions in manufacturing, construction and accommodations and food services.

The number of jobs in Albany was 61,100, up 100, or two-tenths of a percentage point, from 61,000 in July. This increase came in the goods-producing sector, including manufacturing and construction.

Albany lost 400 jobs, or 0.7 percent, since August 2012, mostly in the federal and local government sectors.

The rate for Southwest Georgia declined, officials said, due to a reduction in layoffs. There were 1405 new layoffs, represented by initial claims for unemployment insurance, which are 603, or 30 percent, fewer than the 2008 in July.

The majority of this decrease came in manufacturing. Additional reductions were seen in construction, wholesale trade, administrative and support services and professional and technical services.

The Albany labor force, which is the number of people employed plus those unemployed but actively looking for work, declined by 1,183 to 73,183 in August, down from 74,366 in July. Statewide the labor force decreased 2,457 to 161,339 in August, down from 163,796 in July.

According to Darton College Assistant Professor of Economics and Economics spokesperson Aaron Johnson, while the figures are encouraging, showing a steady decline, that decline can be attributed to a shrinking labor force and not new job creation.

“In comparison to the other 14 metro areas in Georgia, Albany’s rate of labor force shrinkage is the third highest in the state,” said Johnson. “That is an important distinction to make because that means that the decline in the unemployment rate is somewhat misleading. It is encouraging to see that there was an increase of 100 jobs over the last month.”

Statewide, metro Athens continued to show the lowest area jobless rate at 6.1 percent, while the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region again had the highest rate in the state at 11.9 percent.