The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) announced last week that Georgians have received more than $15 billion in unemployment insurance benefits since March of this year, more than the past 27 years combined.
Last week, the GDOL dispersed almost $173 million in benefits, which included $67 million in regular unemployment and almost $10 million in federally funded Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) supplements, almost $30 million in Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), $50 million in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), $11 million in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), and $4.7 million in State Extended Benefits.
“Over 1.4 million Georgians have received benefits during the past seven months and many are beginning to return to the workplace or are looking for new career opportunities,” said Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. “Our Business Services Unit is now centralizing their efforts to market virtual job fairs, customized recruitment, and other reemployment services.”
Today, nearly 168,000 jobs are listed online at EmployGeorgia for Georgians to access. This job total has more than doubled since the April 2020 listing of just 73,000 jobs.
The GDOL offers online resources for finding a job, building a resume, and assisting with other reemployment needs. Employment opportunities include human resource specialists, restaurant managers, bookkeepers, 911 operators, licensed practical nurses, and many more. Wages are highly competitive and range from $10 to $75 per hour to over $100k for annual salaried employment.
Last week, regular UI initial claims totaled 44,892, down 9,274 over the week. The GDOL has worked diligently to dramatically decrease the amount of time it takes to release payments and is now processing regular UI claims within two weeks of a claim file date. All eligible payments are released for claims that do not require additional determinations. If a claimant has been fired or quit his/her job, a review will be necessary to determine eligibility. This review could potentially delay payments.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, 339,327 PUA claims have been processed. Due to federal guidelines, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program is limited to 39 weeks of benefits. Claimants who began receiving benefits at the beginning of the program (2/2/2020) will begin to exhaust benefits in the next few weeks.
From week ending 3/21/2020 through 10/17/2020, the sectors with the most regular UI initial claims processed included Accommodation and Food Services, 941,356; Health Care and Social Assistance, 452,617; Retail Trade, 416,131; Administrative and Support Services, 339,247; and Manufacturing, 306,611. Many claimants in the Accommodation and Food Services division have utilized the $300 earnings exemption rule allowing workers to earn wages and still receive unemployment benefits. An individual can make up to $300 per week without reducing their maximum weekly benefit amount, allowing employees to work reduced hours and still qualify for state weekly benefits.
The number of initial unemployment claims filed throughout the United States for the week ending October 17 was 787,000, a decrease of 55,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 842,000.