ATLANTA — The Georgia Department of Labor announced Thursday that Metro Savannah’s unemployment rate for December was 5 percent, up 0.1 percentage point from 4.9 percent in November. The rate in December 2014 was 6.1 percent.
The rate for Metro Savannah, which the U.S. Census defines as Bryan, Chatham and Effingham counties, rose as the labor force rose by 1,772 to 175,301. While new entrants in the labor force are searching for a job, they’re counted as unemployed. Also, the number of new layoffs as measured by number of initial claims for unemployment insurance rose by 63.1 percent.
The number of initial claims rose by 514 to 1,328 in December. Most of the increase came in administrative and support services, manufacturing and construction, trade, transportation and warehousing, and accommodations and food services. However, over the year, claims were down by 408, or 23.5 percent, from 1,736 in December 2014.
While the rate increased, employers created 900 more jobs. The number of jobs increased to 175,200, or 0.5 percent, from 174,300 in November. Most of the increase came in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, and manufacturing.
Over the year, Metro Savannah gained 6,900 jobs, for a 4.1 percent growth rate, up from 168,300 in December 2014. Most of the job gains came in professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and trade, transportation and warehousing.
The unemployment rate for Coastal Georgia, which includes Bryan County, was 5.2 percent in December, up 0.1 percentage point from November. The region’s unemployment rate in December 2014 was 6.3 percent.
Metro Gainesville had the lowest area jobless rate at 4.3 percent, while the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha and River Valley regions had the highest at 6.6 percent.
Meanwhile, Georgia’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for December was 5.5 percent, down from 5.6 percent in November. It was 6.6 percent in December 2014.