Unemployment claims up in Macon, Warner Robins

Almost 1,700 laid-off workers in the Macon metro area filed first-time claims for unemployment benefits last month, an increase of more than 77.3 percent from February 2008, according to the Georgia Department of Labor.

The number of first-time claims in the Warner Robins area, 605, was smaller but represented an even larger increase percentage-wise at 84.5 percent.

In the Macon area, 1,688 people filed first-time claims, compared to 952 in February of last year.

The news was worse in some other metropolitan areas. The highest percentage jumps were reported in Brunswick, 179.5 percent; Athens, 167.1 percent; and Dalton, 148.7 percent. The metro Atlanta area reported a 111 percent increase after 17,321 people filed claims.

Most of the claims were filed by laid-off workers in manufacturing, trade, construction and administrative services, including temporary employment agencies, the Labor Department said.

The number of jobless workers receiving unemployment insurance benefits in Georgia increased 116 percent over the year, from 73,661 in February 2008 to 159,359 last month.