The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) announced Thursday that for the month of August, Georgia’s unemployment rate was 5.6 percent, while the national unemployment rate stood at 8.4 percent. Along with outpacing the national rate, Georgia recorded a decrease of 2 percentage points since July and a seven-point drop since the beginning of the pandemic. The state reported a 12.6 percent unemployment rate in April and has seen a steady decrease since the initial surge.
“We anticipated a drop in the unemployment rate as we have seen many businesses reengaging in the economy and bringing employees back to work,” said Commissioner of Labor Mark Butler. “I believe our strong unemployment rate has a positive influence on the number of jobs we are seeing on EmployGeorgia.com. With an unemployment rate of less than half of what we registered in April and more than double the jobs available on our state job website, Georgia is a leader in job potential that will continue to drive down the unemployment rate and get Georgians on the road to economic recovery.”
Today, nearly 151,000 jobs are listed online at EmployGeorgia.com for Georgians to access. This job total has more than doubled since the beginning of this pandemic, with just 73,000 jobs listed during April 2020. The GDOL offers online resources for finding a job, building a resume, and assisting with other reemployment needs. Employment opportunities include positions in logistics, computer programming, healthcare, transportation, manufacturing, and production. Wages are very competitive and range from $10 to $55 per hour to over $100k for annual salaried employment.
In August, initial unemployment claims were down by 50 percent (242,458) since July to reach 247,623. Since April, new initial claims have dropped over 1.1 million.
“We have recovered over 65 percent of the jobs lost since the pandemic began mid-March,” said Commissioner Butler. “After the substantial decline in employment in April, these types of increases are exactly what we need to get us back on course.”
For the month, the number of employed was up 20,687 to reach a total of 4,633,847. Additionally, the number of employed was up by 353,923 since April. The number of jobs were up 21,700 in August to reach a total of 4,433,000.
The Georgia Department of Labor has paid more than $13.5 billion in state and federal benefits since the beginning of the pandemic in March of this year. Last week, the GDOL issued $485 million in benefits which include regular unemployment and federal funded Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) supplements, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), and State Extended Benefits.
Claimants who qualify for the LWA program will be issued their final round of supplemental payments this week for the three final eligible weeks. LWA is a program that receives funding from the Federal Emergency Management Administration’s (FEMA) Disaster Relief Fund. LWA allows distribution of an additional $300 weekly supplement to eligible individuals receiving UI benefits from state and federal unemployment insurance programs. The first three weeks’ worth of LWA benefit payments were issued to 564,613 claimants and totaled over $463 million. This week’s LWA benefits will be issued for eligible weeks ending August 22, August 29, and September 5.
Eligibility for the LWA Program is based upon an individual’s weekly benefit determination – an amount calculated by a claimant’s reported wages. Individuals must have received a weekly benefit amount determination of at least $100, received a weekly payment for the identified weeks, and meet other criteria to be eligible for LWA supplemental benefits.
To check eligibility, claimants should visit their My U.I. portal where they will use a link to attest to the reason for their unemployment. Individuals whose employers have filed on their behalf or those who are receiving benefits through Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) do not need to attest their reason for unemployment due to weekly certification that addresses this requirement.
From week ending 3/21/2020 through 9/12/2020, 3,688,949 regular UI initial claims have been processed, more than the last eight years combined (3.3 million). Of those, 2,465,456 were employer filed claims (67%), and 1,223,493 were individual claims. For week ending Sept. 12, initial claims totaled 42,085, down 7,987 from the prior week.
The number of initial unemployment claims filed throughout the United States for the week ending Sept. 12 was 860,000, a decrease of 33,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 893,000.
From week ending 3/21/2020 through 9/12/2020, the sectors with the most regular UI initial claims processed included Accommodation and Food Services, 883,369, Health Care and Social Assistance, 430,498, Retail Trade, 394,342, Administrative and Support Services, 312,609, and Manufacturing, 285,603.
At this time, GDOL career centers are remaining closed to the public. All online services are still available as the staff continues to answer calls, process claims, respond to customer inquiries, and provide assistance to applicants. The GDOL will reopen offices to the public as soon as social distancing can be effectively implemented to protect both staff and customers.
Information on filing an unemployment claim, details on how employers can file partial claims, and resources for other reemployment assistance can be found on the agency’s webpage at dol.georgia.gov.