Thursday, November 12, 2009

Metro area sees large drop in unemployment insurance benefit claims

unemployment insurance benefits

The metro Dalton area (Whitfield and Murray counties) saw a 41.5 percent drop in the number of initial claims for state unemployment insurance benefits in October compared to October 2008, according to figures from the state Department of Labor. That was the largest decline among the state’s 14 metro areas.

The number of claims in Metro Dalton dropped from 4,273 in October 2008 to 2,499 in October 2009.

The DOL said 70,597 laid-off workers in the state filed initial claims for state unemployment insurance benefits in October, a decrease of 2.8 percent from October of 2008. The number of claimants increased by 3,983, or 6 percent, from September when 66,614 claims were filed.

The average length of time jobless workers drew benefits increased from 11.6 weeks in October of 2008 to 14.4 weeks in October of 2009.

“The October jobless claims report provides a revealing snapshot of the condition of Georgia’s job market and viability of the nascent economic recovery,” said State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond in a press release. “Most striking is the lack of improvement in initial claims, which showed a decline of only 2.8 percent over the year. This is a stark reminder that job losses are continuing at rates comparable to those experienced at the height of the Great Recession.”

Thurmond encourages employers and job seekers to take advantage of the opportunities available through expanded use of the Georgia Work$ (GW$) initiative. It seeks to significantly reduce employer costs associated with recruiting, training and hiring new employees. For more information about the GW$ hiring strategy, visit or e-mail inquiries to GW$ telephone operators are available at 1-877-WORKS09 (1-877-967-5709).

Georgia labor market data are available at