Georgia unemployment claims reach record high in April

The number of initial unemployment claims in Georgia has reached another all-time high, with April's total surpassing the number of claims reached in the past four years combined, officials said Thursday.

The unemployment rate increased by 7.3 percentage points in April, to reach 11.9 percent, an all-time high. A year ago, the rate was 3.6 percent.

“This is the highest unemployment rate on record, eclipsing the previous high of 10.6 percent that occurred in December 2010,” said State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. “However, the cause of this high unemployment rate differs greatly from that of the previous record, and I have no doubt that we will recover just as quickly and get back to our record lows once again.”


April 2020 labor statistics also revealed that the over-the-month increase for the unemployment rate was the largest on record.

April showed a decrease of 624,126 employed residents over the month, bringing the total to 4,293,628, the lowest number of employed residents in eight and a half years. This number has decreased by 606,671 over the year.

Georgia’s labor force was down by 281,525 to reach a total of 4,875,448, the lowest the labor force has been in over four years, while also reaching an all-time low in the labor force participation. This total decreased 209,140 from this time last year.

Jobs in Georgia were down by 492,100 over the month, the lowest number of jobs on record in six years. They were down 473,100 over the year, reaching a total of 4,126,500.


Unemployment claims showed an increase of 1,041,401 claims or 333 percent in April to reach a total of 1,353,921 claims. They were up by 1,332,941 claims or 6,353 percent from April 2019. The monthly total was higher than the annual total for each of the previous four years combined, 291,962 in 2019, 310,494 in 2018, 325,597 in 2017, and 372,132 in 2016.

The following sectors saw the highest increase in initial claims for unemployment:

  •  Accommodation and Food Services – over 323,000
  • Trade – over 172,000
  • Health Care and Social Assistance– over 151,000

Employ Georgia posted more than 73,022 statewide job listings during the month of April.