Showing posts with label georgia job losses. Show all posts
Showing posts with label georgia job losses. Show all posts

Thursday, February 3, 2022

December jobs data for Georgia hide losses in key sectors of the Atlanta job market


Georgia gained more than 24,000 jobs in December leaving the state fewer than 19,000 jobs below the level it achieved pre-pandemic in February 2020, but that overall number is hiding the ongoing losses in some specific job areas. (For the Atlanta area, the gain was 10,900 jobs, after seasonal adjustment.)

Using not seasonally adjusted data supplied by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and comparing employment counts of February 2020 with the most recent data of December 2021, significant employment losses continue in the leisure and hospitality, other services, and government sectors. These losses centered on the Atlanta metropolitan area.

In the Atlanta area, employment in the leisure and hospitality area remains 35,300 below its February 2020 level with 26,300 of those lost jobs in the food services and drinking places industry. At this point it is difficult to discern how many of those missing jobs are due to the inability to fill positions at current wage levels, and how many are due to decreased activity by consumers who continue to cut back on their dining-out activities due to Covid concerns.

There is some evidence that the leisure and hospitality industry in Georgia is suffering worse than nationally because of a lack of consumer confidence about exposure to the coronavirus. Georgia’s decision to not enforce more restrictions, such as mask mandates or testing, may be damaging the industry in the Atlanta area when compared to the national data.

Other services is a catch-all sector that includes a diversity of industries. Compared to February 2020, in the Atlanta area employment is still 10,100 jobs below its previous level. Within this sector, repair and maintenance jobs are greater by 900 while personal and laundry employment is down by 3,100. This still leaves 12,300 jobs missing, which are most likely tied to the other segment of this sector – religious, grantmaking, civic, and professional organizations. A number of these organizations provide services to the community not provided by government or profit-seeking businesses, and it remains to be seen how long it will take employment in this industry to recover.

The third sector is government, with a net loss of 4,300 jobs compared to pre-pandemic. Both federal and state employment show gains of 2,700 and 500 respectively, since February 2020; but these gains are offset by a continued 7,500 job loss in local governments in the Atlanta area. Unless these jobs are restored, there is a danger that services provided by local governments will continue to underperform even as residents expect improved performance.

None of these losses are evident in the overall job numbers for the state, which proves why it is worthwhile to go below the headline numbers when looking at employment data.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Georgia unemployment continued claims surge and then drop 40% after state stops federal aid

Continued unemployment claims in Georgia surged in the week before Georgia eliminated the $300 per week federal supplement to state unemployment benefits and then declined by almost 40 percent in the week following the ending of the supplement.

The number of continued unemployment claims rose from 144,750 reflecting the week ending June 19 to 178,850 in the week ending June 26, before declining to 106,266 reflecting the week ending July 3, 2021. 

Continued claims, also referred to as insured unemployment, is the number of people who have already filed an initial claim and who have experienced a week of unemployment and then filed a continued claim to claim benefits for that week of unemployment. 

The number of initial unemployment claims after the ending of the supplement and reflecting the week ending July, 3, dropped 27 percent, from 19,761 in the prior week to 14,475. 

Georgia ended the federal supplement effective June 27 and also ended programs that paid unemployment benefits to people who had not been eligible for benefits and people who had been receiving benefits longer than allowed under state law. 

According to the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget website, “In accordance with Governor Brian Kemp and Commissioner Mark Butler’s plan for reemployment and economic recovery, effective June 27, 2021, Georgia will no longer participate in the federal unemployment programs enacted through the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan Act.” 

With the change, the maximum weekly benefit payable to eligible unemployed workers in Georgia dropped from $665 to $365. 

Nationally, the $300 weekly supplement is due to end September 6, 2021, and Georgia is one of a number of states that have chosen to end the supplement before the federal expiration date. 

Unemployment remains above 2018 and 2019 levels

While the number of continued unemployment claims in Georgia have fallen by more than 85 percent compared to a year ago, continued claims remain higher than for the same weeks in 2018 and 2019. 

Contrasted with the 108,266 continued claims for the week ending July 3, 2021, for the week ending July 4, 2018, continued claims totaled 32,731, and for the week ending July 6, 2019, continued claims were 30,818. 

For the first week of July in 2018 and 2019, the state’s insured unemployment rate was less than 0.8 percent. For the week ending July 3, 2021, the rate stood at 2.57 percent. A year ago, Georgia’s insured unemployment rate was 17.99 percent. 

The insured unemployment rate (percentage of covered employment) is Continued Claims (also called insured unemployment) divided by Covered Employment. This is different than the more normally cited unemployment rate, which is calculated regardless of whether individuals are receiving unemployment benefits.

State unemployment rules starting June 27, 2021 

The Georgia Department of Labor has announced that in accordance with the plan for reemployment and economic recovery, effective June 27, 2021, Georgia will no longer participate in the federal unemployment insurance (UI) programs enacted through the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan Act: PUA, PEUC, FPUC and MEUC. This means the last payable week for these programs will be week ending June 26, 2021, even if there is a remaining balance. 

All eligible payments under any of these federal programs after the program ends will continue to be processed and issued to qualified individuals. This applies to individuals whose eligibility is later determined and unemployment benefits are payable for weeks ending on or before June 26, 2021. 

To be eligible for state Unemployment Insurance (UI), individuals must: 

  • Be unemployed through no fault of their own.
  • Be monetarily eligible (have enough wages from past employers to qualify).
  • Be able to work.
  • Be available for work.
  • Actively seek work.
  • Report your weekly work search.
  • Be registered with Employ Georgia.
  • Not refuse suitable work, if offered.

Georgia regulations allow claimants to receive up to 26 weeks of UI benefits. Eligible claimants will receive a weekly benefit amount ranging from $55 to $365 per week, based on their previous earnings.

Work search requirement reinstated Sunday, July 4, 2021

To continue to receive unemployment benefits workers are required to make a good faith effort to find another job as soon as possible. Unemployed workers can only be paid for weeks during which you actively seek work. Unless the Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) specifically exempts an individual from this requirement, job seekers are required to make a minimum of three new reportable job contacts each week. These contacts must be with employers not previously contacted. Employer contacts can include those made in person, by telephone, online or by résumés faxed, mailed, or emailed. 

More information on filing for unemployment benefits in Georgia can be found at Unemployment Benefits | Georgia Department of Labor

Thursday, August 13, 2020

How bad is Georgia hurting? State receives first $85 million installment of $1.1 billion loan request for unemployment trust fund


In June, the Tax Foundation published a study of state unemployment insurance trust funds. 
Georgia ranked at #21 out of 50. Since then, the picture has continued to deteriorate.
Map Source: Tax Foundation

Before March, Georgia looked to have one of the more solvent unemployment insurance trust funds. 

That is no longer true, as Georgia is receiving an $85 million loan to replenish its unemployment trust fund, which is quickly running out of cash as the state’s insured unemployment rate remains elevated.

The funds are the first installment of a $1.1 billion request made to the U.S. Department of Treasury by Governor Kemp, as reported by The Center Square

Figures from the most recent Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims report published by the U.S. Department of Labor shows that 633,988 people in Georgia were receiving unemployment insurance benefits as of July 25, 2020, in contrast to the 25,618 people who received them a year ago. 

As of the end of July, the state’s insured unemployment rate stood at 14.4%. 

The Georgia Department of Labor announced that as of July 28, 2020, the trust fund balance was $585,483,621, down $1.962 billion, or 77 percent, from the March 24 balance of $2,547,476,454.  

Last month, Governor Kemp as the U.S. Department of Treasury to loan Georgia $85 million in August, $585 million in September, and $430 million in October. The current loan is the first installment related to that request. 

States that receive loans are expected to repay that money to the U.S. Treasury by either increasing state’s payroll tax on employers or from general funds. 

Interest is usually paid from the state’s general fund, and payroll taxes will most likely increase, potentially hurting workers and employers, Greg Georgia, director of the Center for Economic Analysis at Middle Georgia State University, told The Center Square. 

"When the state has to borrow money to supplement that fund now, that's probably general fund spending," George said. "So, it's just a way of spreading the pain to the broader taxpayer base." 

In June, the Tax Foundation conducted an analysis of the solvency of states’ unemployment insurance trust funds and noted that Georgia ranked 21st in its solvency level at 1.25. Any state with a solvency level of 1.0 or greater was deemed to have unemployment insurance sufficient to weather a recession. 

California ranked worse at number 50 with a solvency level of 0.21, while Vermont controlled the most solvent of the state trust funds with a solvency rank of 2.53. 

Despite the high number of claims being paid weekly by the Georgia Department of Labor, there are still accusations that the department has failed to pay all claims dating back to the middle of March. 

The state says it has paid benefits on 92% of valid claims since March. 

“As additional claims are being filed, we have been able to maintain an impressive ratio of eligible claims filed to payouts,” said Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. “Record breaking payout rates represent a new standard for this department as we strive to better serve Georgians.”

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Georgia job increases in May and June fail to offset losses in April

Nonfarm Employment in Georgia, January-June 2020
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Georgia saw 248,300 fewer jobs in the 2nd quarter of 2020 compared to the 1st quarter of the year. The unemployment rate fell to 7.6% in June, down from its May rate of 9.4%.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler was quoted as saying: “June was the first month to show positive numbers in all major indicators since the pandemic started. Although it is nice to see the pendulum move in the right direction, we are not naïve to the fact that we may see another tick up in claims over the next few months. We will continue to work unemployment claims both new and continued to ensure all Georgians are being taken care of during these unprecedented times.”

At the end of the 2nd quarter, employment in Georgia stood at 4,370,300 jobs having given up all the job gains it had made in the past four years.

In June, employment grew by 150,200 jobs, the second consecutive month of job growth after posting a revised net growth of 99,600 jobs in May.

Despite the two months of increases, there was net job loss for the quarter as growth in May and June could not overcome the loss of 498,100 jobs in April.

Over the past 12 months, the state has suffered a net loss of 239,800 jobs, its largest net loss of jobs since 2009.


The state’s unemployment rate remained elevated compared to the state’s 3.5% unemployment rate in June 2019. The percentage of the population employed in June rose to 54.9% up from 53.5% in May. A year ago, the state’s employment-population ratio stood at 60.0%.

In June, the number of unemployed in the state stood at 373,404, also a decrease from the numbers posted in April and May.

Employment by industry

While nearly all industries posted improvements in June compared to their April and May losses, nearly all industries showed job declines over the quarter.

Overall, the private sector posted a net loss of 226,200 jobs in the second quarter with significant quarterly net losses in the leisure and hospitality sector (-88,100), the professional and business services industry (-38,000), and in health care and social assistance (-18,500).

Although nearly every industry posted job gains in June, one exception was state government, which showed a net loss of 500 jobs in June. For the quarter, state government employment declined by 7,200. 

Only federal government employment in the state showed improvements over the quarter, rising by a net of 900 jobs in the 2nd quarter.