ATLANTA (AP) — More Georgia workers had jobs in July, but the state's unemployment rate stayed level as more people came back into the workforce.
The numbers show an economy still recovering from the shock of the pandemic, which forced historic numbers of people out of work in the state.
Georgia's July jobless rate was 7.6%, the same as in June, but more than twice July 2019's level of 3.4%. The number of people seeking jobs rose more rapidly than the number of people with jobs, pushing up the number of unemployed Georgians slightly to 378,000. That's still below the all-time high of 614,000 set in April, when the jobless rate also touched a record peak of 12.6% as many businesses sent workers home.
The nationwide unemployment rate in July was 10.2%
A separate survey of employer payrolls — the top indicator for economists — also showed improvement. Businesses reported employing 4.42 million people in July, up about 44,000 from June. But that's still well below the 4.61 million Georgians on payrolls in July 2019.
About 58,000 Georgians filed for unemployment in the week ending Aug. 15, down about 4,000 from a week before. New claims have fallen steadily since peaking in early April. However, more than 560,000 people are still collecting regular state unemployment checks and the state is still paying out more than $100 million a week in benefits. With only $267 million left in the state's unemployment trust fund as of Tuesday, Georgia is on pace to start borrowing money from the U.S. Treasury within three weeks to make payments.
Georgia also has more than 260,000 people collecting special federal unemployment assistance available to people who are self-employed, independent contractors, gig workers, or employees of churches and nonprofits. Those payments totaled $48 million last week.