Georgia Commissioner of Labor Mark Butler

ATLANTA – Nearly 400,000 unemployed Georgians who filed claims with the state Department of Labor last year at this time are going to have refile with the agency to continue receiving benefits.

The coronavirus pandemic began to gather serious momentum in Georgia at this time a year ago, forcing businesses to close their doors and lay off employees. The initial wave of jobless Georgians who filed claims back then are bumping up against a 52-week benefit limit.

“This was the week last year where we saw the biggest spike in UI (Unemployment Insurance) claims,” state Commissioner of Labor Mark Butler said Thursday. “The increase in claims this year is not as severe as we encountered in 2020, but the numbers are still substantially elevated from claims numbers prior to the pandemic.”

While the number of unemployed Georgians filing first-time claims last week declined by 5,659 from the previous week, the labor department received 33,623 initial claims during the week.

The agency has processed more than 4.6 million unemployment claims since COVID-19 first took hold in Georgia in March of last year, more than during the last nine years combined prior to the pandemic.

The job sector accounting for the most claims in Georgia last week by far was accommodation and food services with 12,202 claims. The administrative and support services job sector was next with 3,428 claims, followed by manufacturing with 2,691.

Butler said unemployed Georgians who need to refile claims because they have reached the end of the 52-week period allowed for benefits must report any additional work history, including temporary, part-time or self-employment work.

The labor department has posted more than 226,000 job openings online at for Georgians to access. The agency offers online resources for finding a job, building a resume and assisting with other reemployment needs.

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