Georgia Commissioner of Labor Mark Butler

ATLANTA – Initial unemployment claims filed in Georgia declined last week to 84,984, down 37,329 from the previous week, the state Department of Labor reported Thursday.

The labor agency paid out $778.1 million last week, including not just regular state unemployment insurance but funds from other state and federal unemployment compensation programs created to help offset the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

That brought to more than $11 billion the total payout by the labor department since mid-March.

“As additional claims are being filed, we have been able to maintain an impressive ratio of eligible claims filed to payouts,” Georgia Commissioner of Labor Mark Butler said. “Record-breaking payout rates represent a new standard for this department as we strive to better serve Georgians.”

Of the total payout during the past 18 weeks, the state agency has issued more than $7.7 billion in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) funds. The FPUC, which provides an additional $600 weekly payment to jobless Georgians, is due to expire at the end of this week unless Congress extends it.

U.S. Senate Republicans have proposed reducing the payments to $200 per week following complaints from some business owners that laid-off employees they want to rehire are reluctant to come back to work.  Democrats are pushing to retain the weekly payments at $600.

Since March 21, the job sector accounting for the most regular unemployment claims in Georgia is accommodation and food services with 787,469 claims. The health care and social assistance sector is second with 390,018 claims, followed by retail trade with 359,438.

More than 122,000 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.