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State mails out extended unemployment benefits

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Federal unemployment insurance benefits are now being paid to 90,994 jobless Georgians, state Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond announced Thursday.

The figure is not broken down by county, a Georgia Department of Labor spokesman said.

The benefits were enacted by Congress and signed July 22 by President Barack Obama. The law extends the qualifying time for eligible recipients from June 2 through Nov. 30.

The Georgia Department of Labor transmitted benefit payments made through direct deposit Wednesday and mailed checks Thursday. More than $76 million in payments were made.

"These resources will help qualified Georgia jobseekers pay their bills and support their families while they continue searching for employment during these difficult economic times," Thurmond said.

Gwinnett County's unemployment rate was 9.3 percent in June, according to preliminary figures. That's up from May's revised figure of 9 percent and slightly higher than the 9.2 percent jobless rate a year ago.

The number of initial unemployment insurance claims in Gwinnett rose 19.7 percent over the month, but over the year, the number of initial claims has fallen 12.3 percent.

The county's unemployment rate is lower than the state's, which preliminary figures show was 10.3 percent in June and 10.2 percent a year ago. Georgia's revised jobless rate in May was 9.8 percent.

Barrow County's unemployment rate -- 10.3 percent, according to preliminary June figures -- has improved slightly compared to a year ago, when it was 10.6 percent. The revised May jobless rate was 9.9 percent.

Walton County has also seen slight improvement. The preliminary June unemployment rate of 9.8 percent is lower than it was a year ago -- 10.3 percent. In May, the jobless rate was 9.6 percent.