ATLANTA — Nearly 230,000 Georgians filed initial unemployment claims last week, down from more than 266,000 claims filed during the previous week, state Commissioner of Labor Mark Butler reported Thursday.

That brings to nearly 1.6 million the number of initial unemployment claims filed in Georgia during the last seven weeks, since the state began feeling the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The largest number of claims by far – 446,437 – has come from the accommodation and food services sector. Health-care and social assistance workers have accounted for 183,328 claims, followed by the retail trade sector with 182,663.

The labor department has paid out more than $1.7 billion in combined state and federal unemployment benefits during those seven weeks.

“Over half a million Georgians have received a payment from the Georgia Department of Labor,” Butler said. “We have been enhancing our current systems and creating new ones to make sure every eligible applicant receives their [unemployment insurance] benefits as quickly as possible.”

Butler said Georgians whose claims are denied or ruled invalid still might be eligible for Pandemic Unemployed Assistance (PUA). This includes gig workers, people who are self-employed or 1099 contractors, or those who work for a church or other nonprofit.

The state began paying out PUA claims last week totaling more than $4 million.

The labor department is continuing to work with employers that are still hiring workers. More than 100,000 jobs are listed online at

Support Local Journalism

Now, more than ever, residents need trustworthy reporting—but good journalism isn’t free. Please support us by purchasing a digital subscription. Your subscription will allow you unlimited access to important local news stories. Our mission is to keep our community informed and we appreciate your support.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.