ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) announced today that 72,298 laid-off workers filed initial claims for state unemployment insurance (UI) benefits in November, a decrease of 2,182 from November 2008.

“Georgia’s job market is mired in a prolonged downturn,” said State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond. “A year-over-year analysis of initial jobless claims shows that the number of Georgians filing for unemployment benefits in November declined by 2.9 percent compared to November 2008. This follows a year-over-year decline of 2.8 percent in October.

“This is an improvement of less than three percent in the number of layoffs from the same months last year, when we were in the midst of a severe economic meltdown,” Thurmond continued. “America’s big financial institutions and Wall Street appear to have stabilized; unfortunately, Georgia’s job market is showing little improvement.”

The average length of time jobless Georgia workers drew UI benefits increased from 11.8 weeks in November 2008 to 14.8 weeks in November 2009. The number of initial claims filed in November showed an increase of 1,701, or 2.4 percent, from 70,597 in October.

The number of jobless workers receiving state UI benefits rose 11.5 percent over the year, from 111,213 in November 2008 to 123,995 in November 2009. An additional 145,000 UI claimants are receiving federally-funded extended benefits, which brings the total number of UI beneficiaries to 268,995.

Most of the initial claims were filed by laid-off workers in manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, construction, and administrative and support services.

Georgia labor market data are available at www.dol.state.ga.us.