A Month Into Reopening And Georgia Jobs Have Yet To Return

Two out of five people in Georgia — 40.3 percent of its workforce — have filed for unemployment since the state reopened its economy on April 30, the first to do so. But people are still staying close to home, making it harder for jobs to come back, according to a report in Politico on Thursday (May 21).

Georgia had more filings by percentage of its workforce than any other state, Politico’s review of data indicated. New jobless claims in Georgia have varied since the state reopened, going up 243,000 two weeks ago and dropping to 177,000 last week. The state had commented that the increases in claims were due to jobs lost in retail, social services and health care.

“It’s nothing significant enough to say, ‘Oh, there’s a huge surge,’ — but certainly nothing to signal there’s any return to economic stability or recovery happening right now,” Alex Camardelle, a senior policy analyst with the nonprofit Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, told Politico.

Aside from being the first state to re-open, Georgia was also one of the last states to close its economy and impose stay-home mandates.

More layoffs are coming down the pike in Georgia as the state makes plans to eliminate over 1,000 jobs — educators, counselors, social services, administrators, clerks —  in a move to cut state budgets by 14 percent, according to an AJC report on Sunday (May 24). Revenue decline brought about by the pandemic was cited as the reason.

Further, some state employees not laid off will see their paychecks slashed.

Among the departments laying off or furloughing employees are the Georgia State Patrol and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

The White House wants more states to open up their economies and expects a rapid decline in unemployment filings once that happens. 

The road to recovery following the pandemic is not expected to be a straight line as businesses, consumers and officials navigate restarting an economy that was closed intentionally for two months. 

As data comes in from the first states to reopen — Georgia, Alaska, Georgia, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas — it’s showing that consumers are still sticking closer to home. The most recent PYMNTS survey on the subject shows that although consumers miss normal life, they are not rushing.