FILE - Georgia Unemployment

(The Center Square) – Georgia has paid more than $7.5 billion in state and federal unemployment benefits in the past 15 weeks, and the state has spent nearly 60 percent of its Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund in that span.

More than 2.8 million initial unemployment claims have been paid by the Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) between the claim week ending March 28 and the claim week ending June 27, but the number of new claims has dropped for the past nine weeks. 

Since March 21, more than $1.8 billion has been paid in regular state unemployment benefits, GDOL said, including $1.4 million paid in the week ending June 27. 

GDOL also issued nearly $75 million in federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance payments for the week ending June 27 to individuals who are self-employed, gig workers, 1099 independent contractors, employees of churches, employees of nonprofits and those with a limited work history and do not qualify for state benefits. Another $538 million was paid that week for the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program, which provides an additional $600 weekly to any individual eligible for any state or federal unemployment programs. In all, the state has issued more than $5.2 billion in FPUC payments.

“The claims numbers continue to improve each week,” GDOL Commissioner of Labor Mark Butler said. “The sheer volume of claims is enough to overwhelm any office, but I am proud that my staff has worked day in and day out to accomplish a 91 percent payment record.”

The Georgia Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund balance was $1.053 billion, down $1.494 billion – or 59 percent – since March 24.

Regional Editor

Jason Schaumburg is an award-winning, veteran editor who has been a journalist for more than 20 years. He spent a decade as the top editor in three northern Illinois newsrooms for Shaw Media and Pioneer Press.