ATLANTA — The Georgia Department of Labor announced today that 72,627 laid-off workers filed first-time claims for unemployment insurance benefits in October, an increase of 75 percent from October of 2007.

During the first 10 months of this year, 539,383 initial claims for unemployment insurance have been filed, an increase of 42.8 percent over the 377,792 initial claims filed during the same period last year. The metropolitan areas with the highest percentage of increase in claims are Dalton, Brunswick, and Athens. The areas with the smallest increase in claims are Augusta, Warner Robins, and Hinesville.

“For the third consecutive month, initial claims in Georgia have risen by more than 70 percent over the year,” said State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond. “These statistics confirm that Georgians are facing a difficult economic environment. The rising tide of unemployment, housing foreclosures, the credit and fiscal crisis, and the lingering drought have converged to form a perfect storm.”

During the past year, layoffs have come across-the-board. Manufacturing, construction, retail trade and private employment agencies have been especially hard hit.

Georgia labor market data are available at