For January, there were 3,205 initial claims for unemployment benefits, a 22 percent decline from December.
The Augusta area fared better than Columbus, Valdosta and Dalton, who saw increases in claims. Atlanta had a slight decrease.
Claims in the Augusta area spiked in December, a 64 percent increase over November, following a trend of higher claims seen in the two prior years.
The Georgia Department of Labor doesn't count the South Carolina counties in the metro area in its report of claims.
The South Carolina Employment Security Commission reports claims filed through its Aiken office increased from December to January, but were substantially lower than a year ago.
There were 1,196 claims made last month, up from 932 in December. In January 2009, there were 2,090 initial claims, the commission reports.
For the state of Georgia, 95,264 laid-off workers filed initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits in January, a decrease of 5,632, or 5.6 percent, from 100,896 in December.
“Typically, initial claims rise in January, due to layoffs following increased hiring of temporary workers for the holiday shopping season,” said State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond. “However, this past November and December, retailers didn’t hire as many seasonal workers as they usually do, resulting in fewer January layoffs.”
Most of the first-time claims filed were in manufacturing, trade, construction, and administrative and support services, the state reports.