State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond is calling a 174 percent increase in December unemployment claims “stunning and sobering.”
The Georgia Department of Labor reported Thursday 128,625 laid-off workers filed first-time claims for state unemployment insurance benefits in December.
“The December claims report confirms the severity of this economic downturn and increases the probability that the current recession will be long and difficult,” Thurmond said.
The metros with the highest percentage of increase in claims were Rome (up 351 percent), Dalton (up 349 percent) and Gainesville (up 216 percent).
Most of the state initial claims were filed by laid-off workers in the manufacturing, construction, and trade industries, along with administrative and support services, including temporary employment agencies.
The Georgia Department of Labor also processed 19,160 first-time claims for federal extended unemployment benefits, bringing the total to 111,384 since the federal program triggered in Georgia in July 2008. Federal extended benefits are available to jobless workers who have exhausted regular state unemployment compensation.