Georgia unemployment claims drop slightly in October

The number of Georgians filing first-time claims for unemployment insurance benefits dropped in October to 70,597, the Georgia Department of Labor said Thursday.

The number is a 2.8 percent decrease over first-time unemployment insurance filings in October 2008, which was 72,627, the state labor department said.

In Atlanta, however, the number of first-time filings  jumped nearly 11 percent to 32,225 in October over the same time a year ago, when the number was 29,057, the DOL said.

The average length of time that jobless Georgians drew benefits also increased to 14.4 weeks in October from 11.6 weeks the same time a year ago.

In addition, the number of initial filings went up 6 percent statewide between September and October, DOL figures show. The number of initial unemployment insurance benefit claims in September was 66,614.

State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond said the numbers are a "revealing snapshot" of Georgia's job market and show "nascent economic recovery."

Thurmond said he considers the only small drop in initial unemployment claims to be the "most striking."

"This is a stark reminder that job losses are continuing at rates comparable to those experienced at the height of the Great Recession," Thurmond said Thursday.

The number of jobless workers in Georgia receiving unemployment insurance benefits overall rose 32.8 percent to 130,812 in October 2009 from 98,530 a year ago, according to figures from the state DOL.

An additional 146,000 workers are receiving federally funded extended unemployment benefits as well, the labor department said.

Most of the initial out-of-work claims were filed by workers in manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, construction and administrative and support services.