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Unemployment Claims Declining, Still High as Congress Discusses Benefits



Among the positions being filled, she said, are loan officers, underwriters, loan processors and customer service jobs for offices in Buckhead and Alpharetta. This is a sign that the Atlanta housing market is still strong.

But with large sections of the economy, the continued spread of the coronavirus is cooling consumer spending, Wald said. “The bad news is that even when reopened, you still have over 600,000 people in Georgia receiving unemployment benefits. This is more than the total population of Augusta, Columbus, Savannah and Albany. “

Meanwhile, those who lost their jobs in the pandemic no longer receive an additional $ 600 a week from the federal government. The bitterly divided Congress has so far failed to reach a compromise on a new aid package.

Other data show that economic recovery is far from complete.

At the end of July, Georgians worked 21

% fewer hours than at the end of February, while at Metro Atlanta, hours worked fell by 26%, said Andrew Vogeley, a product manager at Homebase that sells a planning and tracking tool. the weather.

Things looked better a month ago, he said.

In mid-June, more people worked more hours, Vogeley said. “Both Georgia and Atlanta are down from the peaks in mid-June. Atlanta had surpassed the rest of the country, but now lags behind. “

Nationally, the US Department of Labor reported 1.4 million initial unemployment claims, up 12,000 from the previous week.

Flooded by an unprecedented influx of claims, Georgia’s Department of Labor is far behind. Many of the unemployed have waited months for their benefits to be paid. But after a slow improvement, the state has already made payments to 92% of the claims that are considered valid, said Mark Butler, the state’s commissioner of labor.

The state Department of Labor has been struggling for months with an unprecedented wave of layoffs, plus it has to implement new federal programs.  Georgia's labor commissioner Mark Butler says recent proposals for unemployment benefits will make the difficult situation even more difficult.

The state Department of Labor has been struggling for months with an unprecedented wave of layoffs, plus it has to implement new federal programs. Georgia’s labor commissioner Mark Butler says recent proposals for unemployment benefits will make the difficult situation even more difficult.

Credit: Contribution

Credit: Contribution

With the unprecedented level of unemployment claims, the money for the payment of the benefit decreases. The state’s unemployment fund is now less than 25 percent of the $ 2.5 billion it held at the start of the crisis.

If this fund runs out, Georgia will have to borrow from the US Treasury Department to make payments.

Many of the lawsuits come from those who have lost their jobs in hospitality, food services, health and social assistance, retail, administrative services and manufacturing, the labor ministry said.

Many of these jobs were lower paid.

According to the Census Bureau, more than 50% of adults who make $ 75,000 or less a year lost income during the pandemic. For those whose salary was $ 25,000 or less, at least 60% lost income.

“This recession is having a terrible impact on the people who are least able to cope with it,” said Mike Alexander, director of the Center for Living Communities at the Atlanta Regional Commission.

New claims for the unemployed in Georgia

Weekly end

June 6: 135,254

June 13: 131,997

June 20: 125,725

June 27: 117,485

July 4: 105,160

July 11: 138,452

July 18: 122,313

July 25: 84,984

Sources: US Employment and Training Administration, Georgia Department of Labor




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