Augusta sees decline in initial jobless claims for March

Initial claims for unemployment benefits were lower in March for the Augusta metro area, according to data released Thursday by the Georgia Department of Labor.

The state reported there were 1,308 initial claims in March, down 12 percent from February. They were also slightly lower than a year ago, when there were 1,433 claims.

The metro area’s two largest counties led the decline. Columbia County was down 14 percent from February and Richmond County was down 13.8 percent.

The number of first-time claims for unemployment insurance in Georgia declined to 42,676, down 7.9 percent, from February. Most of the decrease came in manufacturing, trade, construction, and administrative and support services.

“I’m also encouraged that the number of new layoffs continues to decline, reaching the lowest level since March four years ago,” Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said.