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Pandemic-driven unemployment hits record high


  • By The Newnan Times-Herald
  • |
  • May. 22, 2020 - 1:59 PM

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Pandemic-driven unemployment hits record high

The Newnan Times-Herald

ATLANTA - Georgia’s unemployment rate skyrocketed last month to a record high 11.9 percent, the state Department of Labor reported Thursday.

Coronavirus-induced joblessness rose by 7.3 percent during April alone, sending unemployment well past the previous record of 10.6 percent set at the height of the Great Recession in December 2010.

“However, the cause of this high unemployment rate differs greatly from that of the previous record,” Georgia Commissioner of Labor Mark Butler said. “I have no doubt that we will recover just as quickly and get back to our record lows once again.”

But for now, Georgia’s job outlook is not a pretty picture. The huge jump in unemployment is being reflected in unprecedented numbers of initial unemployment claims, which rose by 333 percent last month to reach a total of 1.35 million.

The monthly total of initial claims filed in April was higher than the number for each of the last four years combined.

The accommodations and food services sector accounted for the most unemployment claims, with more than 323,000 filed last month. The trade sector was a distant second with more than 172,000 claims, followed by health care and social assistance, which accounted for more than 151,000 claims.

April showed a decrease of 624,126 employed Georgians, bringing the total to nearly 4.3 million, the lowest number of employed residents in eight and a half years.

Jobs in Georgia were down by 492,100 over the month, the lowest number of jobs on record in six years.

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By Dave Williams, Bureau Chief

Capitol Beat News Service