Unemployment Overview

Unemployment Rate

The outbreak of COVID-19 and resultant job loss has caused unemployment rates throughout the nation to increase to rates higher than during the financial crisis in 2008. With the state of Georgia being home to the world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield Jackson International Airport, and the Delta Airlines Headquarters, which both had massive layoffs and furloughs, it is no surprise that Georgia’s unemployment rate reached an all-time high. 

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, unemployment rates in Georgia had reached historic lows. The unemployment rate in Georgia for the month of March was 4.2%, and the unemployment rate for the month of April was 11.9%.

The heatmap below shows the unemployment rates for each county in Georgia in March and April. The rates range from a low of 3.2% in March to a high of 20.6% in April.

Unemployment rates by county data is obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Local Area Unemployment Statistics. https://www.bls.gov/lau/

Jobless Claims

As the state of Georgia begins to reopen, jobless claim numbers are declining; however, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, over 2 million people in Georgia filed for unemployment.

The chart below shows the weekly number of new initial claims vs total insured unemployed, or continuing unemployment claims. Initial claims refers to a new claim filed that week, and insured unemployed refers to those who are continuing to received unemployment payments past their first week of filing a claim.

The initial unemployment claims is obtained from the United States Department of Labor’s Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Data. https://oui.doleta.gov/unemploy/claims.asp
The continuing claims data is obtained from the United States Department of Labor’s Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report. https://www.dol.gov/ui/data.pdf

The top five affected sectors of Georgia’s economy are:

  • Accommodation and Food Services
  • Health Care and Social Assistance
  • Retail Trade
  • Administrative and Support Services
  • Manufacturing

The Initial Jobless Claims Data by sector is obtained from the Georgia Department of Labor’s Labor Market Explorer. https://explorer.gdol.ga.gov/vosnet/gsipub/documentview.aspx?enc=wOyju/3DGuSGPaH+TbNP2oNdnLlai10DU1Q36KdJlgw=

Photo of an undetermined Georgia Tech home game during the 1918 college football season. That's when the sport was hit by the Spanish flu and the end of World War I.

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