Columbus Unemployment Rate to 8.2%

By Andrew Wittenberg  - bio | email

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The numbers aren't good.

Unemployment in Columbus rose to 8.2 percent in January, 2.4 percent higher than the rate in January of 2008.

"If you're unemployed, you know, that's a pretty desperate situation. We've got people who are unemployed. Whether it's eight percent, seven percent, if you're one of that percentage's a dire situation," Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Mike Gaymon said.

But there is a silver lining for those in Columbus, compared to some other cities in the state.

Unemployment numbers across the rest of the lower Chattahoochee Valley are higher, standing at 8.3 percent.

Macon and Augusta are at or above the state average of 8.6 percent.

Dalton tops the state with 12 percent unemployment rate.

In fact, Georgia's unemployment numbers have not seen this level since 1976...rising 3.4 percent in one year.

"It certainly has segments that are hurting still and will continue to hurt, but our economy is already beginning to show small signs and we'll be coming out of where we are right now a lot quicker than the rest of the state," Gaymon said.

The Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce sparks economic growth through the creation of business in the area.

President and CEO Mike Gaymon says both are on the horizon with Fort Benning's expansion as well as new businesses...but it will still take longer than some would hope.

"It will be next year before you start to see these hundreds and thousands of people moving here. That deadline has not changed," Gaymon said.