National State of the Workforce Report Highlights Georgia’s Accomplishments

Thursday, February 18th, 2021

The National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) released its bi-annual State of the Workforce Report yesterday outlining how the workforce agencies in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands assisted American workers through one of the worst economic downturns our country has experienced. The report, subtitled “Responding to the Pandemic,” includes total claims processed, total benefits paid, innovative pandemic response strategies, programs within the state workforce agency, and Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) core programs. The report stated between March and December 2020, workforce agencies processed over 1 billion unemployment claims and paid out over half-a-trillion dollars in unemployment benefits, including all state and federal benefit programs. 

Georgia’s report highlighted the state’s 20.8 million continued weeks claimed in regular Unemployment Insurance in 2020 and the almost $17 billion in benefits released in regular UI and the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. The report also featured GDOL’s innovative pandemic response strategies including the department’s Rapid Response program for reemployment that was transitioned to an unprecedented virtual service delivery approach, the agency’s partnership with the Georgia Department of Education for a COVID-19 School Employment Program, and the development of a library of instructional videos to assist job seekers with work search.

The entire report can be found at

"The NASWA report shows just how much volume Georgia has seen this past year when compared with other states,” said Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. “As a leader in the nation in the number of claims processed and the disbursement of UI funds, it was also rewarding to share a few of the creative solutions GDOL devised to better serve Georgians during this historic time.”  

The GDOL issued over $400 million last week to Georgians as the agency continues to implement the multiple phases of the Continued Assistance Act (CAA) included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 providing extended benefits for claimants on PEUC and PUA.  The payments included benefits for regular Unemployment Insurance (UI), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), State Extended Benefits (SEB), and Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) payments.

The GDOL has paid over $18 billion in state and federal benefits since the beginning of the pandemic in March of last year, 4,392,859 regular UI initial claims have been processed, more than the last nine years prior to the pandemic combined (4.0 million). Last week, regular UI initial claims totaled 32,386, up 5,171 over the week. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 340,985 PUA claims have been processed. 

The sectors with the most weekly regular UI initial claims processed included Accommodation and Food Services, 7,095, Administrative and Support Services, 3,617, Health Care and Social Assistance, 3,581, Manufacturing, 3,481, and Retail Trade, 2,417.

The number of initial claims filed throughout the United States for the week ending Feb. 6, was 793,000, a decrease of 19,000 from the previous week's revised level of 812,000.

Georgia finished out the year with 4,558,900 jobs, more than doubling its monthly jobs number from November to December.

“Georgia is one of the leading states in the country in job creation,” said Butler. “We created 44,700 jobs in December 2020, only being outdone by Texas who has the second highest population in the country.  These efforts can be contributed to opening government back up sooner than other states, our various reemployment programs, and making decisive and calculated decisions to allow hard-working Georgians get back to their jobs.”

Today, over 183,000 jobs are listed online for Georgians to access.  The GDOL offers online resources for finding a job, building a resume, and assisting with other reemployment needs.  Resources for reemployment assistance along with information on filing an unemployment claim and details on how employers can file partial claims can be found on the agency's webpage at

For more information on jobs and current labor force date, visit the Georgia Labor Force Market Explorer at to view a comprehensive report.