Still, November hiring was a sign of resilience in the economy, said Mark Butler, the state’s labor commissioner. “While many may focus on the unemployment rate increasing, what is more important is the increases in jobs and employment.”
Last week Georgia processed 23,702 new jobless claims, down from the prior week, but still a sign of recession-level cutting.
Hiring is especially strong around e-commerce. The Labor Department said much of last month’s growth was in transportation and warehousing, where huge retailers like Amazon, Walmart and Kroger have been bulking up to handle a surge in online ordering.
With cases of coronavirus once again rising, job cuts were concentrated in businesses that rely on face-to-face interactions, hurting restaurants, bars and conferences.
Hospitality and food services have been hemorrhaging jobs since the pandemic struck, and they led the pack in layoffs once again last week.
“That’s what troubles me the most,” Smith said. “Those are sectors that people fall back on. ‘Oh, I can always wait tables or bartend.’ But what if those jobs don’t exist anymore?”
Since March 21, state officials have processed more than 4.2 million claims for unemployment benefits. The number of claims is larger than the number of people laid off because of duplications, mistakes and sometimes fraud. Still, nearly half of the claims have been judged to be valid.
The state is also administering the federal programs that provide benefits to gig and contract workers who have lost jobs. Those programs are set to expire by Dec. 26th. About 300,000 Georgians will lose their benefits when the federal pandemic programs end, if they aren’t renewed, according to the Department of Labor.
Congressional leaders have been in talks about new federal relief, but any package is expected to be smaller than the CARES Act in March.
Georgia’s pandemic economy, jobs added or lost
Sources: Georgia Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics
New jobless claims in Georgia
Oct. 10: 54,166
Oct. 17: 44,892
Oct. 24: 43,695
Oct. 31: 37,253
Nov. 7: 23,827
Nov. 14: 19,626
Nov. 21: 20,088
Nov. 28: 19,183
Dec. 5: 33,003
Dec. 12: 23,702
Sources: Georgia Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration