ATLANTA — The Georgia Department of Labor announced Thursday that Effingham County’s preliminary unemployment rate for March was 5.6 percent, down from 5.8 percent in February and down from 6.4 percent in March 2013.
Metro Savannah’s unemployment rate increased to 6.7 percent in March, up one-tenth of a percentage point from 6.6 percent in February. The rate was 7.4 percent in March a year ago.
The rate rose because the labor force increased and there were more layoffs. The labor force increased by 1,442, as more job seekers began looking for work. It rose to 183,866 from 182,424 in February. At the same time, there were 1,261 new claims for unemployment insurance filed in March, an increase of 301 from 960 in February. Most of the increase came in transportation and warehousing. There were 1,145 claims in March 2013.
Although the rate rose, Savannah employers created more jobs. The number of jobs increased to 162,900 in March, up by 1,000, or 0.6 percent, from 161,900 in February. The job gains came mostly in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, and retail trade. Over the year, the number of jobs increased by 2,400, or 1.5 percent, from 160,500 in March 2013. Most of the increase came in leisure and hospitality and trade, transportation, and warehousing.
The unemployment rate in the Coastal Georgia region remained unchanged at 7.2 percent from February to March, but it was down from 8.1 percent a year ago.
While the March rate was unchanged, there were 1,923 new claims for unemployment insurance filed in March, an increase of 212, or 12.4 percent, from 1,711 in February.
Most of the increase in claims came in transportation and warehousing. There were 2,256 claims in March 2013.
Metro Athens had the lowest area jobless rate at 5.1 percent, while the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest at 9.4 percent.
Meanwhile, Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for March was 7.0 percent, down from 7.1 percent in February. The rate was 8.4 percent in March a year ago.