Georgia’s Unemployment Rate Outperforms National Percentage

Staff Report

Friday, August 21st, 2020

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler announced Georgia’s unemployment rate remains at 7.6 percent in July, which is two and six-tenths lower than the national rate of 10.2 percent. Georgia’s rate has decreased five percent since April.   

Commissioner Butler said that the number of Georgia’s jobs significantly increased over-the-month in July. The labor force increased 60 thousand, up 95 thousand since April, and the number of employed increased 55 thousand, up 331 thousand since April.

“The numbers to focus on for the July report are the positives in labor force increase and especially the number of individuals who actually gained employment,” said Commissioner Butler.  “I believe you will soon see a gradual decrease in the unemployment rate as employment catches up with increases in labor force.”

After 17 consecutive weeks of over 100 thousand initial claims, claims numbers have dropped below 100 thousand for a fourth consecutive week. For week ending August 15, initial claims totaled 58,099, down 4,236 from the prior week. The agency issued $222 million in regular unemployment benefits and federal funds for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) payments, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) payments, Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) supplements, and State Extended Benefits.  Since March 21, $12.5 billion has been paid to eligible Georgians in unemployment benefits.  

From week ending 3/21/2020 through 8/15/2020, 3,488,493 regular UI initial claims have been processed, more than the last eight years combined (3.3 million). Of all claims processed, 1,516,009 were identified as valid claims. The invalid claims could potentially be duplicate filed claims or those without enough earned or any wages to receive benefits. 

The number of initial unemployment claims filed throughout the United States for the week ending August 15 was 1,106,000, an increase of 135,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 971,000. 

Last week, the GDOL issued more than $49 million in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) payments to eligible individuals who are self-employed, gig workers, 1099 independent contractors, employees of churches, employees of non-profits, or those with limited work history who do not qualify for state unemployment benefits. The PUA program may provide benefits to claimants that did not have enough wages to establish a valid regular state UI claim but were prohibited from employment due to COVID-19.  From week ending 3/21/2020 through 8/15/2020, 327,168 PUA claims have been validated. 

In addition, the total federal funds issued to Georgians for Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) totaled over $48 million last week. Over the past 21 weeks, the GDOL has issued more than $8.4 billion in FPUC funds. FPUC provided an additional $600 weekly payment to any individual eligible for both state and federal unemployment compensation programs. This program ended July 31.  

From week ending 3/21/2020 through 8/15/2020, the sectors with the most regular UI initial claims processed included Accommodation and Food Services, 832,068, Health Care and Social Assistance, 412,542, Retail Trade, 378,545, Administrative and Support Services, 293,864, and Manufacturing, 270,713. 

As of 8/18/2020, the trust fund balance was $267,853,031, down $2.280 billion, or 89 percent, from the 3/24/2020 balance of $2,547,476,454.  

Today, over 120,000 jobs are listed online at for Georgians to access. The GDOL offers online resources for finding a job, building a resume, and assisting with other reemployment needs. 

At this time, GDOL career centers are remaining closed to the public.  All online services are still available as the staff continues to answer calls, process claims, respond to customer inquiries, and provide assistance to applicants. The GDOL will reopen offices to the public as soon as social distancing can be effectively implemented to protect both staff and customers.

Information on filing an unemployment claim, details on how employers can file partial claims, and resources for other reemployment assistance can be found on the agency’s webpage at