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Initial unemployment claims up slightly in Georgia

ATLANTA — First-time unemployment claims in Georgia rose slightly last week, even as claims nationwide declined, the state Department of Labor reported Thursday.

Jobless Georgians filed 32,386 initial claims last week, up 5,171 from the week before.

Since the coronavirus pandemic struck Georgia 11 months ago, the state has paid out more than $18 billion to nearly 4.4 million Georgians, more than the last nine years prior to the pandemic.

The labor department paid out more than $400 million last week as the agency continued to implement the latest COVID-19 economic stimulus package Congress passed at the end of last year.

Meanwhile, Georgia finished out 2020 with a workforce of more than 4.5 million jobs, more than doubling the monthly jobs number from November to December.

“Georgia is one of the leading states in the country in job creation,” state Commissioner of Labor Mark Butler said. “We created 44,700 jobs in December 2020, only being outdone by Texas.”

The job sector accounting for the most first-time unemployment claims last week in Georgia was accommodation and food services with 7,095 claims. The administrative and support services job sector was next with 3,617 claims, followed by health care and social assistance with 3,581.  

More than 183,000 jobs are listed online at for Georgians to access. The labor department offers online resources for finding a job, building a resume, and assisting with other reemployment needs.