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Georgia reports highest unemployment rate on record

Unemployment claims in Georgia reached an all-time high in April, according to State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler on Thursday. He said April’s total surpassed the number of claims reached in the past four years combined.

A news release from the Georgia Department of Labor said April 2020 labor statistics revealed that the over-the-month increase for the unemployment rate was the largest on record.

In Troup County, the Department of Labor reports 12,224 individuals filed unemployment claims, an increase of more than 10,000 claims, or 585 percent, from March.

“This is the highest unemployment rate on record, eclipsing the previous high of 10.6 percent that occurred in December 2010,” Butler said in a news release. “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.”

According to the news release, the unemployment rate increased by 7.3 percentage points in April, to reach 11.9 percent, an all-time high. A year ago, the rate was 3.6 percent.

April’s labor number shows a decrease of 624,126 employed residents 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.

The news release said 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 over four years, while also reaching an all-time low in the labor force participation. This total decreased 209,140 from this time last year.

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 percent in April to reach a total of 1,353,921 claims. They were up by 1,332,941 claims or 6,353 percent 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 — more than 323,000
  • Trade — more than 172,000
  • Health Care and Social Assistance — more than 151,000