About 42,550 laid-off workers filed first-time claims for unemployment insurance benefits in March, the Georgia Department of Labor announced. That's a 3.9 percent rise from February.
Most of the increase in claims came in manufacturing industries.
In Columbus, the number of initial claims from February to March was down 76 — or 11.1 percent — from 684 to 608.
Initial claims are considered to be a good way to measure economic activity because they take into account newly unemployed workers.
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Over the year, Georgia claims jumped by 36.3 percent, up from 31,225 in March of 2007.
The total number of people receiving unemployment insurance benefits is up 35.6 percent over the year as well. In March 2007, the state count was at 54,798 individuals. This March, there were 74,294.