ATLANTA —Jobless rates in the metro Savannah and Coastal Georgia areas decreased in February.
The Georgia Department of Labor announced recently that metro Savannah’s unemployment rate decreased to 6.6 percent in February, down three-tenths of a percentage point from 6.9 percent in January. The rate was 7.9 percent in February a year ago.
In the Coastal Georgia region, the rate dropped to 7.2 percent in February, down three-tenths of a percentage point from 7.5 percent in January. The rate was 8.6 percent in February a year ago.
According to the labor department, the metro Savannah rate declined because employers created 1,600 new jobs and reduced the number of new layoffs by 53.8 percent.
The number of jobs increased to 161,500 in February, up 1.0 percent, from 159,900 in January. The job gains came mostly in professional and business services and state and local government.
Over the year, the number of jobs increased by 3,900, or 2.5 percent, from 157,600 in February 2013. Most of the increase came in professional and business services and leisure and hospitality.
The Coastal Georgia region rate declined because there were 1,693, or 49.7 percent, fewer new layoffs, represented by initial claims for unemployment insurance, according to the labor department.
There were 1,711 new claims filed in February, down from 3,404 in January.
Most of the decline in claims came in trade, transportation and warehousing, administrative and support services, accommodations and food services, and construction and manufacturing. There were 2,244 claims in February 2013.
In metro Savannah, there were 960 new claims for unemployment insurance filed in February, a drop of 1,119 from 2,079 in January. Most of the decline in claims came in trade, transportation, and warehousing, administrative and support services, and accommodations and food services. There were 1,198 claims in February 2013.
Metro Athens had the lowest area jobless rate at 5.1 percent, while the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest at 9.7 percent.
Meanwhile, Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for February was 7.1 percent, down from 7.3 percent in January. The rate was 8.5 percent in February a year ago.
Local area unemployment data are not seasonally adjusted. Georgia labor market data are available at www.employgeorgia.com