FILE - Georgia Unemployment

(The Center Square) – Georgia's unemployment rate dropped to 7.6 percent in June, the Georgia Department of Labor said Thursday.

June's rate was a 1.8 percentage points drop from May's unemployment rate in Georgia and 3.5 percentage points below the nation's 11.1 percent unemployment rate in June.

Georgia's unemployment rate in June 2019 was 3.5 percent.

“June was the first month to show positive numbers in all major indicators since the pandemic started,” Commissioner of Labor Mark Butler said. “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.”

June showed an increase of 118,100 employed residents over the month, bringing the total to 4.6 million, and the labor force was up by 31,100 to reach a total of 4.9 million, GDOL said.

Unemployment claims fell by 27 percent in June, totaling 607,851 claims, which represents a 3,202 percent increase from June 2019.

GDOL said Thursday it has processed 3,085,261 unemployment claims since March, 1.4 million of which were valid. Invalid claims could be duplicate claims or those without enough earned wages to receive benefits.

Initial unemployment claims for last week increased 34 percent over the week ending July 4. GDOL said initial claims usually increase the week after the Fourth of July, but the sharp spike has prompted an increase in fraud investigations.

“We are reviewing each claim to ensure the integrity of our system and to uncover fraud,” Butler said. “Many states have seen sharp increases in claims numbers leading to the uncovering of large fraud rings and individual fraudulent claims that led to criminal charges and prosecution.”

Nationally, 1.3 million Americans filed for initial unemployment benefits last week, the U.S. Department of Labor said.

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.