Georgia sees 990% increase in unemployment insurance claims during week ending March 28

Woman putting on hand sanitizer
Initial claims for unemployment insurance rates are increasing across the nation in the midst of COVID-19. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Initial claims for unemployment insurance rates are increasing across the nation in the midst of COVID-19. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, more shelter-in-place orders are issued and more businesses are forced to lay off their employees, more Americans—and more Georgians—are filing claims for unemployment insurance.

The U.S. Department of Labor released a report April 2 showing advance figures for seasonally adjusted initial claims in the week ending March 28 was 6.6 million—a 100% increase over the prior week's 3.3 million. One year ago, about 211,000 Americans filed initial claims during the week ending March 30, 2019.

“Similar to last week’s unemployment claims numbers, today’s report reflects the sacrifices American workers are making for their families, neighbors and country in order to ‘slow the spread,’” U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia said in a statement. “The Administration continues to act quickly to address this impact on American workers.”

Scalia said this action includes a rule the department adopted April 1 regarding paid leave provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and work to increase access to enhanced unemployment benefits laid out in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act passed last week.

“That legislation also contains significant incentives for businesses to retain workers and continue paying them, which will put businesses and workers in a better position to resume work and re-boot the economy once the virus is contained,” Scalia said.

According to the department, an initial claim is one filed by an unemployed individual following the parting from an employer, and this statistic is a key indicator when it comes to determining the strength of the nation’s economy. Officials said in the report that states identified unemployment increases in the services industry, particularly in the accommodation and food services sector.

While all states reported an increase in initial claims the third week of March, Georgia saw a 990% increase during the week of March 28 from the prior week. The week of March 21, Georgia had 12,140 initial claims. One week later, the state saw 132,386 initial claims.

However, Georgia is still on the lower end of the list in terms of the number of initial claims.

State officials in the report cited statewide layoffs in the following industries:

  • accommodation and food services;

  • health care and social assistance;

  • administrative, support, waste management and remediation services;

  • retail trade;

  • educational services; and

  • transportation and warehousing industries.

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