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Thursday, October 8, 2009 - 3:47am

Ga. Unemployment Claims Leveling Off

New numbers from the state Department of Labor show a rise of 17.6 percent in first-time claims filed for unemployment benefits — up from September 2008 to last month.

However, there was a bit of a decrease in claims filed over one month's time, from this August to September — down by about 3,200 claims.

Labor officials also report the average length of time jobless Georgians drew benefits went up by an average of a couple of weeks—to 14, over the year.

“While the pace of new layoffs continued to moderate in September, the average length of time that jobless Georgians are receiving unemployment insurance benefits is now longer than it’s been since March 1976,” said State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond.

“This is a strong reminder that we must increase our efforts to help unemployed Georgians find new jobs or careers. I believe that federal, state, and local governments must invest greater public sector resources in order to stimulate job creation by small businesses.”

The number of jobless workers receiving state UI benefits rose 58.8 percent over the year, from 88,121 in September 2008 to 139,900 in September 2009.

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

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