In Georgia, the state last week processed 39,281 new jobless claims, roughly 14,000 more than the week before and seven times higher than the pre-pandemic average. As has been the case since the pandemic’s start, the lion’s share of claims were from people working in food and accommodation.
Since the start of the pandemic, the department has processed nearly 4.6 million initial claims. More than 400,000 Georgians are currently receiving benefits.
Nationally, “the labor market remains strained,” wrote Sarah House, Wells Fargo senior economist, via email. “But the economy is gearing up for growth: “We look for a substantial rebound in hiring over the next few months.”
Signs are upbeat. Around the country, new filings for unemployment benefits last week were below 1 million for the second consecutive week, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
When the department releases its jobs report for March on Friday, it will likely show the addition of about 675,000 jobs, said House.
Georgia’s online job site has more than 228,000 listings, according to the state Department of Labor. And there have been several recent announcements of hiring.
Feit Electric last week said it is opening a distribution center in McDonough and will be hiring 120 people. Allied Universal is hiring more than 50 security guards in LaGrange.
And, in Fairburn, Porex, which makes porous plastics, has gone to round-the-clock shifts
and is hiring about 20 people, including technicians, inspectors and mechanics, according to a spokeswoman. The company, which will hold in-person interviews Tuesday afternoons, has raised its starting wage to $18.37 an hour to attract workers.
Weekly jobless claims, Georgia
Worst, pre-pandemic: 41,522 (Jan. 10, 2010)
Highest, pandemic: 390,132 (April 4, 2020)
Average, pre-pandemic: 5,548
Average, last four weeks: 25,877
Last week: 39,281
Total since Mar. 21: 4.6 million
Unemployment rate, metro Atlanta
February 2020: 3.3%
January 2021: 5.1%
February 2021: 4.5%
Jobs added or lost, metro Atlanta
Sources: Georgia Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration