ATLANTA - The Georgia Department of Labor reported Wednesday that the unemployment rate in the metro Columbus area rose to a preliminary unadjusted rate of 8.8 percent in February, up 3.3 percentage points over the year from February of 2008. The jobless rate in metro Columbus rose six-tenths of a percentage point from a revised 8.2 percent in January.
The unemployment rate in the Lower Chattahoochee area rose to a preliminary unadjusted rate of 8.7 percent in February, up 3.2 percentage points over the year from February of 2008. The jobless rate in the Lower Chattahoochee area rose five-tenths of a percentage point from a revised 8.2 percent in January.
"The latest local unemployment rates reflect the severity of the on-going recession in Georgia," said State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond. "In 87 of our state's 159 counties, double-digit unemployment is a sobering reality. A rising tide of joblessness is spreading across our state."
The counties with the highest unemployment rates are Jenkins at 21.3 percent, Hancock at 19.1 percent, and Warren at 16.8 percent. The counties with the lowest rates are Oconee at 6.0 percent, Lee and Long at 6.7 percent.
Meanwhile, the state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 9.3 percent in February, the second consecutive month of record high unemployment in Georgia. The previous high was a revised 8.5 percent in January.
The February jobless rate was up 3.9 percent from 5.4 percent at this same time last year. Georgia's unemployment rate remained above the national rate of 8.1 percent for the 16th consecutive month.
At present, 445,498 unemployed Georgians are looking for work, an increase of 69.2 percent over the year. Of that number, 159,359, or 35.8 percent, are receiving unemployment insurance benefits.
The local area unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted. Georgia labor market data are available at www.dol.state.ga.us.