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Unemployment insurance claims up in state over last year
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ATLANTA - The Georgia Department of Labor announced today that 40,963 laid-off workers filed first-time claims for unemployment insurance benefits in February, an increase of 37.7 percent from February of 2007, when 29,738 were filed.
The February over-the-year increase represents the eighth such consecutive increase, going back to July 2007.
Also, the overall number of jobless workers receiving unemployment benefits in February increased to 73,661, up 32.6 percent from 55,564 in February 2007. In that same period, the average length of time a person received benefits increased from 11 to 11.2 weeks, which means it is now taking people longer to become re-employed.

"I continue to be concerned about weakness in the job market and the fact that it's taking longer for jobless workers to get new jobs," said State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond. "I'm particularly concerned about North Georgia, where layoffs in the carpet and other manufacturing industries have made this the region with the largest claims increase in the state. The Georgia Department of Labor is redoubling its efforts to put people back to work as quickly as possible."

Seasonally, initial claims declined from January to February, down 38.4 percent from January, when initial claims spiked upward as seasonal workers in construction, retail trade, and services filed claims.  The 14 metro areas of the state and the changes in their initial claims from January to February are as follows:

- Albany, down 403, or 44.7 percent, from 902 to 499.
- Athens, down 511, or 47.9 percent, from 1,067 to 556.
- Atlanta, down 7,614, or 30.5 percent, from 24,965 to 17,351.
- Augusta, down 757, or 41.5 percent, from 1,825 to 1,068.
- Brunswick, down 97, or 22.4 percent, from 433 to 336.
- Columbus, down 1,320, or 65.9 percent, from 2,004 to 684.
- Dalton, down 1,357, or 38.8 percent, from 3,498 to 2,141.
- Gainesville, down 374, or 25.2 percent, from 1,485 to 1,111.
- Hinesville, down 80, or 36.2 percent, from 221 to 141.
- Macon, down 961, or 50.2 percent, from 1,913 to 952.
- Rome, down 435, or 36.3 percent, from 1,200 to 765.
- Savannah, down 630, or 38.4 percent, from 1,640 to 1,010.
- Valdosta, down 443, or 40.7 percent, from 1,089 to 646.
- Warner Robins, down 308, or 48.4 percent, from 636 to 328.      

Georgia labor market data are not seasonally adjusted and are available at
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