ATLANTA The Georgia Department of Labor says 96,306 laid-off workers filed first-time claims for state unemployment insurance benefits in March, an increase of 126.3 percent from March of 2008.
The department said this morning the metropolitan areas with the highest percentage of increase in claims were Gainesville, up 249.4 percent; Rome, up 218.4 percent; and Brunswick, up 185.0 percent.
The areas with the smallest increase in claims were 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.
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.