Polk had 923 initial claims in April and 491 in May. That’s a decrease of 432, or 53 percent. However, claims were up over May 2008, when Polk had 271 first-time claims. The year-over-year increase is 220, or 55.1 percent.
Statewide, more than 75,000 workers filed first-time claims in May, an increase of 68.7 percent from May 2008. The state numbers dropped 10.6 percent between April and May this year, from 84,346 to 75,436.
“The over-the-year increases in initial claims have declined from the triple-digits we experienced earlier in the year,” said State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond. “Initial claims were also down from April to May in 11 of our state’s 14 metro areas. I remain hopeful that Georgia’s job losses will continue to decline in the coming months.”
The metropolitan areas with the highest percentage of increase in claims from May 2008 to May 2009 are Gainesville, up 136.2 percent; Brunswick, up 132.9 percent; and Augusta, up 115.8 percent.
Most of the state initial claims were filed by laid-off workers in manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, construction and administrative and support services.
In Rome, recent cutbacks include Kmart, which laid off 80 workers when it closed its grocery section in April, and Advanced Steel, which has temporarily laid off 91 workers.
The number of jobless workers receiving unemployment insurance benefits in Georgia rose 110 percent over the year, from 74,981 in May 2008 to 157,544 in May 2009.
Also in May, the Department of Labor processed 20,593 first-time claims for Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits, bringing the total to 201,526 since the federal program began in Georgia last summer. Federal extended benefits are available to eligible jobless workers who have exhausted regular state unemployment compensation.