Georgia unemployment figures break record

ATLANTA — It’s a record that’s not being celebrated.

On Thursday, The Georgia Department of Labor released unemployment claims between March 22 and March 28. There were 133,820 claims processed.

That’s the highest number of claims it has ever processed in a week in Georgia. It represents an increase of 1102% over the prior week ending March 21 with 12,140 claims.

Unemployment claims throughout the U.S. increased 101% last week to 6.6 million.

[Here’s how to file for unemployment if your job has been affected by coronavirus]

“We are seeing the number of claims filed in Georgia skyrocket to levels we have never experienced before,” said Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. “Our team is working overtime, nights, and weekends to process the tremendous volume – taking time away from their own families to help Georgia’s families.”

With a record number of claims being filed, the GDOL dispersed $14,563,575 in unemployment benefits to 64,022 Georgians for the week ending March 28.

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“People are anxious and worried about their health, their families, and how they are going to continue to make it financially during these uncertain times,” said Butler. “We are here to help Georgians get through this economic struggle.”

Butler encouraged Georgians to visit the GDOL website to access applications, step-by-step instructions, and video tutorials on applying for unemployment. The commissioner emphasized that with the huge volume of claims the agency is receiving, people need to use the online tools where possible.

[Everything Georgians need to know about the stimulus payments, unemployment and more]

President Trump signed the CARES Act on March 27, expanding unemployment insurance benefits and other economic relief measures aimed at reducing the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and authorized $2.1 trillion in aid to various sectors of the economy. This economic relief package includes the following:

  • Expands eligibility for those not eligible for regular, extended benefits, or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation including self-employed individuals, independent contractors, those with limited work histories, and those unable to work due to the enumerated COVID-19 related reasons;
  • Extends state unemployment benefits by 13 weeks of federally funded benefits added to the end of regular unemployment benefits; and
  • Provides for Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUD) of $600 weekly in addition to regular state benefits.