ATLANTA — The Georgia Department of Labor announced that 96,306 laid-off workers filed first-time claims for state unemployment insurance benefits in March, an increase of 126.3 percent from March 2008.
The metropolitan areas with the highest percentage of increase in claims are Gainesville, up 249.4 percent; Rome, up 218.4 percent; and Brunswick, up 185.0 percent.
The areas with the smallest increase in claims are Valdosta, up 44.6 percent; Hinesville, up 70.4 percent; and Albany, up 85.2 percent.
Most of the state initial claims were filed by laid-off workers in manufacturing, trade, construction and administrative and support services. And, the number of jobless workers receiving unemployment insurance benefits rose 133 percent over the year, from 74,294 in March of 2008 to 172,947 in March of 2009.
Also, in March, the GDOL processed 20,740 first-time claims for Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) benefits, bringing the total to 161,997 since the federal program began in Georgia in July 2008.
Federal extended benefits are available to eligible jobless workers who have exhausted regular state unemployment compensation.
State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond urged jobseekers to continue to look for work, explore training and education opportunities and to make full use of the reemployment services at the department’s 53 career centers around the state.
The locations of the career centers are available at www.dol.state.ga.us.