The Georgia Department of Labor announced Thursday that Metro Albany's unemployment rate decreased to 8.0 percent in February, down two-tenths of a percentage point from 8.2 percent in January. The rate was 9.3 percent in February a year ago.
The rate declined because Albany employers created 300 new jobs and reduced the number of new layoffs by 24.9 percent.
The number of jobs increased to 60,800 in February, up 0.5 percent, from 60,500 in January. The job gains came mostly in state government. Over the year, the number of jobs increased by 200, or 0.3 percent, from 60,600 in February 2013. Most of the increase came in retail trade and the goods producing sector, which includes manufacturing and construction.
There were 672 new claims for unemployment insurance filed in February, a drop of 223 from 895 in January. Most of the decline in claims came in manufacturing, administrative and support services, accommodations and food services, and trade, transportation, and warehousing. There were 791 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.