ATLANTA — The Georgia Department of Labor announced Thursday that Metro Savannah’s unemployment rate for February was 5.3 percent, up 0.1 percentage point from 5.2 percent in January. The rate in February 2015 was 6 percent.
The rate rose as the number of unemployed residents increased by 264, while the labor force grew by 2,545.
At the same time, the number of jobs in Metro Savannah, which the U.S. Census Bureau defines as Bryan, Chatham and Effingham counties, increased by 2,200, or 1.3 percent, to 174,700 from 172,500 in January. Most of the increase came in professional and business services, retail trade, leisure and hospitality, state and local government, and the goods-producing sector, which includes manufacturing and construction.
Over the year, Metro Savannah gained 7,100 jobs, a 4.2 percent growth rate, up from 167,600 in February 2015. Most of the job gains came in professional and business services, trade, transportation and warehousing, leisure and hospitality, education and health services, manufacturing, and state and local government.
The number of initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased by 329, or 32.1 percent, to 697 in February. Most of the decrease came in manufacturing, accommodations and food services, trade, transportation and warehousing, and administrative and support services. Also, over the year, claims were down by 97, or 12.2 percent, from 794 in February 2015.
Unemployment in Coastal Georgia also rose in February, to 5.5 percent, up 0.1 percentage point from 5.4 percent in January.
The rate in February 2015 was 6.2 percent.
The rate rose because the number of unemployed residents increased by 567, as the labor force grew 3,329.
At the same time, the number of initial claims for unemployment insurance declined in the 10-county region, which includes Bryan County, by 542, or 28.6 percent, to 1,355 in February. Most of the decrease came in manufacturing, accommodations and food services, administrative and support services, and trade, transportation and warehousing. Also, over the year, claims were down by 55, or 3.9 percent, from 1,410 in February 2015.
Metro Gainesville had the lowest area jobless rate at 4.6 percent, while the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha and River Valley regions had the highest at 7.1 percent.
Meanwhile, Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for February was 5.4 percent, unchanged from January. It was 6.2 percent in February 2015.
State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said job seekers and employers should use the GDOL’s online job listing service, www.employgeorgia.com to search for jobs or recruit new employees. In February, 2,748 jobs in Savannah were posted on Employ Georgia. Throughout the state, 77,004 jobs were posted.
Local area unemployment data are not seasonally adjusted. Georgia labor market data are available at www.dol.georgia.gov.