Originally created 08/27/99

Area unemployment down in July



A demand for construction workers, particularly plumbers, caused the Augusta area unemployment rate in July to decline to 5.6 percent, the Georgia Labor Department reported Thursday.

Two plumbing firms and an electrical company added employees.

The unemployment rate for the area fell from 5.7 percent in June and 6.1 percent in July 1998.

"In the Augusta area, as in other parts of the state, jobs are available for people with training and skills," state Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond said. "However, there are far too many people who don't have the education and training necessary to fill many of the jobs that are available."

The five-county, two-state Augusta area includes Richmond, Columbia and McDuffie counties in Georgia, and Aiken and Edgefield counties in South Carolina.

Georgia's unemployment rate was 4.1 percent in July -- the lowest recorded for that month in 28 years, according to the Labor Department. The rate was unchanged from June, but down from 4.7 percent in July 1998.

The unemployment rates for Georgia's other metropolitan areas in July compared with the revised unemployment rates for June are:

Albany, 7.4 percent, down from 7.6 percent;

Athens, 2.8 percent, unchanged;

Atlanta, 3.3 percent, down from 3.9 percent;

Columbus, 4.9 percent, down from 5.1 percent;

Macon, 4.8 percent, down from 5.1 percent;

Savannah, 4.6 percent, down from 4.8 percent.

Frank Witsil can be reached at (706) 823-3352.