Augusta area unemployment benefit claims rise in July

The Georgia Department of Labor reported today that 3,854 laid off Augusta area workers filed first-time claims for state unemployment insurance benefits in July, an 18 percent increase over June claims.

Statewide, there were 93,988 unemployment insurance initial claims, a 5.9 percent increase from June, but a 58.9 percent increase over July 2008.

“The July jobless claims report presents a classic good news, bad news scenario,” said state Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond. “Fewer Georgians are being laid off, but a rising number of laid-off workers are remaining unemployed for longer periods of time.”

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

The average length of time that jobless Georgia workers drew benefits increased from 11.5 weeks in July of 2008 to 13.4 weeks in July 2009.

Initial claims for the local area:

Richmond County: 2,081 claims in July, up from 1,788 in June.

Burke County: 436 claims in July, up from 340 in June.

Columbia County: 837 claims in July, up from 666 in June.

McDuffie County: 444 claims in July, up from 413 in June.

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