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High concentration of Georgia jobless claims not involving layoffs slowing benefits processing
Georgia Department of Labor
The Georgia Department of Labor offers state residents the opportunity to apply for unemployment benefits when in need. - photo by Sabrina Kerns

ATLANTA – The processing of first-time unemployment claims in Georgia is being slowed down because the vast majority do not involve layoffs, the state Department of Labor reported Thursday.

Only 10% of May’s 74,783 initial jobless claims resulted from Georgians being laid off from their jobs, according to labor department data. Layoffs accounted for 49% of claims at the height of the coronavirus pandemic in April of last year.

“Claims filed due to layoffs are determined quickly and payments can be released without delay,” Georgia Commissioner of Labor Mark Butler said. “However, we are not seeing many simple layoff claims at this time, and we must review each claim thoroughly to ensure a claimant is eligible.”

Delays in processing first-time unemployment claims have been a frequent complaint since COVID-19 struck Georgia in March of last year, forcing businesses to close and lay off workers. Such delays are among the allegations in a class-action lawsuit filed against the labor department last month.
This story continues below. This story was originally published by Capitol Beat News Service. 

Last week was the first full week since Georgia ended its participation in several federal unemployment insurance programs begun during the pandemic. However, 19,761 jobless Georgians still filed initial unemployment claims during the week, down 988 from the week before.

With the federal programs discontinued, claimants for state unemployment are required to be able and available to work and be actively seeking a job during each week they’re asking for benefits.

Information on the best way to conduct work searches can be found on the agency’s website at dol.georgia.gov.

The labor department has processed more than 4.9 million first-time unemployment claims since March of last year, more than during the last 10 years before the pandemic. The agency has paid out more than $22.8 billion in state and federal jobless benefits.

More than 203,000 jobs are listed on EmployGeorgia. Claimants receive access to job listings, support to upload up to five searchable resumes, job search assistance, career counseling, skills testing, job fair information and job training services.

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