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Georgia’s unemployment insurance claims rise

The Georgia Department of Labor announced Thursday that 34,543 laid-off workers filed first-time claims for unemployment insurance benefits in May, up 2.2 percent from April. Initial claims were down from 35,397 filed in May 2006 for an over-the-year decrease of 2.4 percent. Columbus bucked that trend, with claims falling 11.8 percent.

The increase in claims in May was mostly due to layoffs in the service-related industries. Initial claims are considered to be a leading economic indicator, because they measure newly laid-off workers.

The 14 metro areas of the state and the changes in their initial claims from April to May are as follows:

- Albany, up 175, or 26.4 percent, from 664 to 839.

- Athens, down 51, or 8.5 percent, from 597 to 546.

- Atlanta, up 716, or five percent, from 14,380 to 15,096.

- Augusta, up 194, or 14.9 percent, from 1,303 to 1,497.

- Brunswick, up 74, or 32.6 percent, from 227 to 301.

- Columbus, down 99, or 11.8 percent, from 836 to 737.

- Dalton, down 428, or 30.5 percent, from 1,404 to 976.

- Gainesville, up 522, or 118.6 percent, from 440 to 962.

- Hinesville, up 31, or 23.8 percent, from 130 to 161.

- Macon, up 205, or 22.2 percent, from 922 to 1,127.

- Rome, down 340, or 40 percent, from 851 to 511.

- Savannah, down 129, or 13.8 percent, from 932 to 803.

- Valdosta, down 13, or two percent, from 645 to 632.

- Warner Robins, down 98, or 25.9 percent, from 379 to 281.

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