The Georgia Department of Labor said on Thursday that it had processed 105,160 new jobless claims last week, a sign that the persistence of the coronavirus could jeopardize the economic rebound.
Last week’s deposits were 12,000 less than the previous week, but continue a series of historically high claims that began in mid-March. The state has now seen 15 consecutive weeks at levels much higher than the worst of the Great Recession, last week paying more than $ 148 million in weekly state benefits.
“The same year that we had our lowest monthly number of claims since 1975, no one would have imagined that we would pay almost three years of benefits in one week,” said Labor Commissioner Mark Butler.
More than 600,000 Georgians are now receiving unemployment benefits, about one in eight people currently in the labor market. This does not include people who have chosen not to file or who have been discouraged from filling out applications through an online process, sometimes frustrating.
Nationally, about 1.3 million workers applied for unemployment benefits last week, down 99,000 from the previous week, according to the United States Department of Labor.
Since mid-March, the Georgia Department of Labor has processed almost 3 million initial applications – including numerous duplicates and even fraud – but about a third of these applications have been approved.
The ministry has made payments to the vast majority of those who qualify, Butler said. But the huge spike in claims means that thousands of people have waited a month or more. Many are still waiting.