Georgia unemployment claims surge

The metropolitan areas with the highest percentage of increase in claims from June 2008 to June 2009 were Rome, up 181.0 percent; Gainesville, up 172.8 percent; and Athens, up 163.2 percent. The areas with the smallest increase in claims were Dalton, up 48.5 percent; Albany, up 66.3 percent; and Savannah, up 68.7 percent.

Atlanta's numbers were up 104 percent. 

"Rising unemployment continues to plague local economies throughout North Georgia," Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond said. "Fortunately, layoffs in the hard-hit Dalton area appear to be moderating, although the recession-resistant Athens labor market experienced an unusually sharp increase in first-time jobless claims."

Most of the state initial claims came from the manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, construction, and administrative and support sectors.  The number of jobless workers receiving regular state unemployment insurance benefits rose 97.1 percent over the year, from 81,321 in June of 2008 to 160,249 in June of 2009. Another 93,000 are receiving Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits.  

Georgia's unemployment rate is  9.7 percent, above the national average of 9.4 percent.

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