ATLANTA — The Georgia Department of Labor announced today that 74,480 laid-off workers filed first-time claims for unemployment insurance benefits in November, an increase of 54.7 percent from November of 2007.

During the first 11 months of this year, 613,863 initial claims for unemployment insurance have been filed, an increase of 44.1 percent over the 425,942 initial claims filed during the same period last year. The metropolitan areas with the highest percentage of increase in claims are Dalton, Rome, and Warner Robins. The areas with the smallest increase in claims are Augusta, Albany, and Valdosta.

“For the past four months, initial claims in Georgia have risen significantly over the previous year,” said State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond. “But, temporary hiring during the holiday season should off-set some of the unemployment insurance claims being filed by workers laid off from full-time jobs.”

So far this year, almost two-thirds of all initial claims have been filed by laid-off workers in manufacturing, construction, and trade, along with administrative and support services, including temporary employment agencies.