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Warner Robins sees record high unemployment rate in April

The city's unemployment rate went up by six points from March to April, reaching an all-time high of 10.2 percent. A year ago, that rate was 3.2 percent.

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — More than 40 million Americans have reported losing their jobs since the pandemic began nearly three months ago.

The labor department says another 2.1 million Americans filed for jobless benefits last week.

Warner Robins is one of the places feeling the effects of high unemployment because of COVID-19.

Many of you may be familiar with our series "Boomtown: Houston County," which showcases the growth the county has seen over the last few years. 

Now, new numbers show that Warner Robins is seeing a record number of unemployment because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A release from the Georgia Department of Labor says the city's unemployment went up by six points from March to April, reaching an all time high of 10.2 percent.

The metro area lost more than 11,000 jobs last month.

A year ago, that rate was 3.2 percent.

Chrissy Miner, CEO of the 21st Century Partnership, says she is confident the city can bounce back.

"Once, you know, restrictions become a little bit more eased and folks are able to get out in the economy, then I do believe that we will see, you know, an economic boost again and hiring return to levels," says Miner.

She says without Robins Air Force Base driving their economy, those numbers could be worse.

"The good news in all of this is that the base still maintains full employment," she says. "The biggest economic engine, the base employees, they are continuing to be paid, they just need the means to let go of some of that money within the economy."

Miner says the pandemic has hit the service industry the hardest.

"I think the biggest impact that you see is from the service industry-type activity that has been reduced in terms of going in and dining in restaurants to full capacity and things of that nature."

Miner says it's not just Warner Robins that has been affected, it's the entire country.

"It’s a very sad situation and certainly something that nobody expected, but you know, now that we have lessons learned from this, we need to adapt as a community and make sure that we become more resilient when we encounter things like this."

She says they are still waiting to see what the long-term impact on the base will be.

"I definitely expect that we will see some shifting in the department in terms of priorities and what they are doing, so we will see impacts to the base, good or bad, you know, what’s yet to come, but they will definitely see shifts and impacts because of COVID."

Bibb County also saw a big bump in April. 

Macon started the month with 94,000 jobs and ended the month with 86,000. 

According to the state, a dozen Central Georgia counties had unemployment in double figures last month.

They included Bibb, Houston, Laurens, Baldwin and Dooly counties.

If you're unemployed and looking for a job, you can visit the Georgia Department of Labor website or Employ Georgia to learn about job opportunities.

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