January 15, 2004
(Atlanta-AP) -- The state Labor Department said Georgia had a huge increase in people filing for initial unemployment benefits in December, with 65 percent more people making claims than in November.
The number of claims rose to 59,206 in December, compared with 35,933 the month before.
Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond said "We continue to lose jobs in some area of our state. These new losses not only affect workers whose jobs are being terminated, but make it even harder for Georgians who have been out of work for months to find employment."
Thurmond said job cuts at Georgia companies such as EarthLink, WestPoint Stevens, Flint River Textiles and Lord and Taylor have contributed to the unemployment claims. Thurmond asked President Bush and Congress to extend unemployment insurance benefits to provide help for people with longer-term difficulties getting a job.
In Georgia's seven largest metropolitan areas, the number of new unemployment claims last month compared to November, and the percentage change of total claims were:
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