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Posted: February 17, 2011 9:14 a.m.

Unemployment claims rise in Georgia

First-time unemployment benefit filings increased 11.9 percent in January from the previous month in Metro Atlanta, according to information released Wednesday from State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler.

There were 35,038 laid-off workers in metro Atlanta who filed claims in January, with most of the claims filed by manufacturing and construction workers. There were 32,319 claims filed in December.

The filings are down from a year ago, when 40,472 claims filed in January 2010.

Information on claims filed in Newton and Rockdale counties was unavailable on Thursday.

Filings statewide increased 18.5 percent from December to January, with 89,659 first-time claims filed. There were 95,264 workers filing for the first time in January 2010.

The bulk of the claims filed across the state were by workers in manufacturing, construction, administrative and support services, and trade, according to the labor department.

"Most of these were seasonal layoffs that occur each year," Butler said in the release. "However, I am concerned that the number of long-term unemployed Georgians continues to increase. This is a sure sign that the state's job market remains soft."

The numbers of Georgians out of work for 27 weeks or more stands at 262,700. Their ranks increased 47 percent since last January, when 178,600 Georgians were among the long-term unemployed.



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