FILE - Georgia Unemployment

(The Center Square) – Georgia recorded the second-most initial unemployment claims in the U.S. for the week ending May 9, according to data released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor.

New unemployment claims in Georgia last week were 241,387, up 13,035 – or 6 percent – from the 228,352 claims filed the week ending May 2.

Only Connecticut, with 298,680 initial claims, received more new claims than Georgia last week.

The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) has processed 1.8 million regular initial unemployment claims since mid-March. Of those claims, 812,281 were eligible to receive benefits, and 85 percent of all eligible claimants have received their first payment, GDOL said.

“We have issued an unemployment payment to more than 575,000 people in the state of Georgia,” GDOL Commissioner Mark Butler said. “That is more recipients than the past four years combined.”

GDOL said it processed 242,772 claims last week and paid regular weekly unemployment benefits totaling $176.3 million. Over the past eight weeks, almost $800 million has been paid in regular unemployment benefits and more than $2.4 billion in state and federal benefits combined, GDOL said.

As of Tuesday, the Georgia Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund balance was $1.98 billion – down $569 million from the previous week’s balance.

Nationally, 2.98 million Americans filed for new unemployment benefits for the week ending May 9 – down 195,000 from the 3.17 million Americans who filed claims for the week ending May 2.

The total number of Americans who have filed for unemployment benefits in the past two months is more than 36 million.

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.