Georgia’s Labor Force Reaches All-Time High in November

Friday, December 18th, 2020

The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) announced today that Georgia’s labor force reached an all-time high in November of 5.17 million. Additionally, the state saw significant increases in the number of employed residents and jobs. While nearly every metric remained positive, the unemployment rate for November still increased by 1.2 percentage points to 5.7 percent due to the dramatic increase in the number of citizens returning to the workforce.

“November is yet another month where we witness the resilience of Georgia’s economy,” said Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. “While many may focus on the unemployment rate increasing, what is more important is the increases in jobs and employment.” 

In November, the number of employed Georgians was up 12,759 to reach a total of 4,872,633, and the number of employed was up by 592,709 since April. 

Georgia’s labor force in November saw an increase of 81,278, almost triple the increase from 2018 to 2019. That number is also up 274,436 since the start of the pandemic in April. 

“The fact that our labor force is at an all-time high in the midst of a crippling pandemic is pretty remarkable, “ said Commissioner Butler. “The unemployment rate will fluctuate, but we will continue to centralize our efforts on keeping our economy stable and filling the thousands of jobs available on Employ Georgia.” 

Jobs in November increased by 20,900, reaching a total of 4,515,300. That number is down 123,400 compared to this same time last year. The job total listed online at EmployGeorgia has more than doubled since the beginning of the pandemic from the April 2020 listing of just 73,000 jobs.

Of the over 162,000 jobs currently listed on EmployGeorgia, over half of them advertise annual salaries over $40,000.  In many cases, employers are willing to train quality candidates and assist with attainment of additional credentials.  The sectors with the most over-the-month job gains included Transportation and Warehousing, 13,000, Specialty Trade Contractors, 2,900, Wholesale Trade, 2,100, Retail Trade, 2,100, and Administrative Services, 2,100.

The GDOL Business Services Unit has coordinated virtual hiring events across the state with employers from a range of industries.  The GDOL is currently working with South Georgia Regional Commission to hire 150 COVID community outreach workers and over 50 part-time positions paying $15/hour.  The team held a virtual recruitment event this week and has scheduled another for January. Interested applicants can get more info at

The GDOL has also assisted in recruitment for Dole Packaged Foods in metro Atlanta hiring forklift drivers, inventory clerks, maintenance technicians, production technicians, a production supervisor, sanitation technicians, and a sanitation manager. A virtual recruitment event will be held on January 7, 2021.  Interested parties can get more information at

On Dec. 31, 2020, all federal CARES Act unemployment insurance (UI) programs are scheduled to end. After the programs end, the GDOL will not be able to continue to pay benefits for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), or State Extended Benefits (SEB). The last week payable for PUA, PEUC, and SEB is week ending Dec. 26, 2020 for individual-filed claims and week ending date Dec. 30, 2020 for employer-filed claims.

The Georgia Department of Labor has paid nearly $16.5 billion in state and federal benefits since the beginning of the pandemic in March of this year. Last week, the GDOL issued $138 million in benefits, which include regular unemployment and federally funded Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) supplements, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), and State Extended Benefits. 

Claimants receiving regular state UI will continue to receive benefits for weeks they are found eligible up to 26 weeks. Claimants who have yet to exhaust all benefits provided by the CARES Act will not receive the balance of their funds for any week ending dates after Dec. 26. Claimants are encouraged to continue to request benefits after the programs end in the event Congress passes new legislation or extends these programs. If additional federal legislation is passed, the new programs will be implemented or current programs extended and updates will be made on the GDOL website and social platforms.

In November, initial unemployment claims decreased by 47 percent (92,491) since October to reach 104,175. Since week ending March 21, 2020, 4,155,200 regular UI initial claims have been processed, more than the last nine years combined (3.8 million). Last week, regular UI initial claims totaled 23,702, down 9,301 over the week. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 345,964 PUA claims have been processed. 

The number of initial unemployment claims filed throughout the United States for the week ending December 12, was 885,000, an increase of 23,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 862,000.  

The sectors with the most weekly regular UI initial claims processed included Accommodation and Food Services, 6,267, Administrative and Support Services, 2,672, Health Care and Social Assistance, 2,337, Manufacturing, 1,807, and Retail Trade, 1,446.

Resources for reemployment assistance along with Information on filing an unemployment claim and details on how employers can file partial claims can be found on the agency's webpage at

For more information on jobs and current labor force date, visit the Georgia Labor Force Market Explorer at to view a comprehensive report.