The Georgia Department of Labor reported Thursday that metro Augusta’s unemployment rate declined to 8.5 percent in February, down six-tenths of a percentage point from 9.1 percent in January. The rate was 9 percent in February a year ago.
According to a news release, the rate declined because the number of jobs increased and there were fewer new layoffs, which were represented by initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits.
The number of jobs in metro Augusta increased by 600, climbing to 213,800 in January. Most of the job growth came in professional and business services, education and health care, and leisure and hospitality.
Metro Athens had the lowest area jobless rate, 6.1 percent, and the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest,11.2 percent.