The Georgia Department of Labor says the number of people filing first-time claims for state unemployment insurance benefits is up 80.7 percent from January 2008.
Labor officials said Thursday that 120,139 people who have been laid off filed for benefits in January.
The metropolitan areas with the highest percentage of increase in claims are Dalton, up 164.7 percent; Brunswick, up 163.7 percent; and Rome, up 153.4 percent.
The areas with the smallest increase in claims are Columbus, up 21 percent; Valdosta, up 35.4 percent; and Savannah, up 39.1 percent.
Most of the initial claims were filed by laid-off workers in manufacturing, trade, administrative services, including temporary employment agencies, and construction.