The unemployment rate in Georgia is 11.9%, according to the Georgia Dept. of Labor.
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The unemployment rate in Georgia is 11.9%, according to the Georgia Dept. of Labor.

The number of initial unemployment claims has reached another all-time high, with April’s total surpassing the number of claims reached in the past four years combined, officials said Thursday.

Last month’s increase for the unemployment rate was the largest on record, Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said.

“This is the highest unemployment rate on record, eclipsing the previous high of 10.6% that occurred in December 2010,” Butler said. “However, the cause of this high unemployment rate differs greatly from that of the previous record, and I have no doubt that we will recover just as quickly and get back to our record lows once again.”

The unemployment rate increased by 7.3% in April to reach 11.9%, an all-time high. The rate was 3.6% in 2019.

RELATED: Georgia Unemployment Claims Double Amid Coronavirus Shutdowns

April also showed a decrease of 624,126 unemployed people over the month, bringing the total to 4,293,628 – the lowest number of employed residents in eight and a half years. This number has decreased by 606,671 over the year.

Georgia’s labor force was down by 281,525 to reach a total of 4,875,448, the lowest the labor force has been in more than four years, while also reaching an all-time low in the labor force participation. This total decreased 209,140 from this time last year.

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Jobs in Georgia were down by 492,100 over the month, the lowest number of jobs on record in six years. They were down 473,100 over the year, reaching a total of 4,126,500.

Unemployment claims showed an increase of 1,041,401 claims or 333% in April to reach a total of 1,353,921 claims. They were up by 1,332,941 claims or 6,353% from April 2019. The monthly total was higher than the annual total for each of the previous four years combined, 291,962 in 2019, 310,494 in 2018, 325,597 in 2017, and 372,132 in 2016.

The following sectors saw the highest increase in initial claims for unemployment.

  • Accommodation and Food Services – over 323,000
  • Trade – over 172,000
  • Health Care and Social Assistance– over 151,000

Last week, the GDOL issued over $55 million in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) payments to individuals who are self-employed, gig workers, 1099 independent contractors, employees of churches, employees of non-profits, or those with limited work history who do not qualify for state unemployment benefits. 132,888 PUA applications were processed and were eligible for payment.

Over 25,000 applications have been processed, but have still not requested a payment. Applicants must request a payment each week to be issued benefits.

The GDOL career centers are currently closed to the public. All online services are still available as the staff continues to answer phones, return emails, and assist applicants. The GDOL will open offices to the public as soon as social distancing can be effectively implemented to protect both staff and customers.

Today, over 97,000 jobs are listed online at EmployGeorgia.com for Georgians to access.