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Coastal Georgia hard hit as Georgia unemployment rate hits record

Arnashia McCain uses her phone to copy phone numbers posted on the locked doors of a Georgia Department of Labor office in Norcross Ga.
Arnashia McCain uses her phone to copy phone numbers posted on the locked doors of a Georgia Department of Labor office in Norcross Ga. (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

The Georgia Department of Labor announced Thursday that the unemployment rate reached 11.9% in April -- an all-time high across all categories. And while the numbers are up everywhere, Coastal Georiga’s rate was higher than the state average, with both Glynn and Chatham counties’ rates above 16%.

“Although we are seeing all-time high unemployment rates across a majority of the state, we are continuing to work with employers on effective strategies to get Georgians back to work in both a safe and economically efficient way,” Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said.

While last week’s unemployment claims of 165,499, down 12,000 over the previous week and down for three of the last four weeks.

Payments of unemployment benefits last week totaled $159,501,356 in regular weekly unemployment benefits, down $28 million over the prior week. This is the first decline in weekly benefits paid since week ending March 21.

In the past two months, Georgia has paid over $1.087 billion has been paid in regular unemployment benefits, more than the last three years combined ($923 million).

The number of initial unemployment claims filed throughout the United States was 2.1 million last week, a decrease of 323,000 from the previous week.

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Last week, the Georgia Department of Labor has issued over $56 million in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance 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.

As of May 26, the Georgia Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund Balance was $1,65 billion, 35% from March 24.

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.