Unemployment up

County’s unemployment stats up 4.5 percent during COVID-19

Pierce County’s estimated unemployment more than doubled from March to April, up from 3.9 percent in March to 8.4 percent in April according to data released by the Georgia Department of Labor.

The statistics estimate Pierce County has a labor force of 8,352 with 7,649 employed. The number of those listed as unemployed were 703, up from 345 in March.

March showed a total labor force of 8,677 with 8,332 employed and 345 unemployed.

Pierce County was not alone. The Southern Georgia region reported a substantial increase in unemployment claims.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the region’s unemployment claims increased due to the effects of COVID-19.

“Although we are seeing all-time high unemployment rates across a majority of the state, we are continuing to work with employers on effective strategies to get Georgians back to work in both a safe and economically efficient way,” said Butler.

In the Southern Georgia region, the unemployment rate increased to 9.7 percent in April, up a full five percent from March. A year ago, the rate was 3.2 percent.   

The number of unemployment claims dramatically increased by 413 percent in April due to COVID-19 related temporary lay-offs. When compared to last March, claims were up by about 4,679 percent.

The labor force decreased in April by 8,887. The April total was 171,523. That number is down by 5,957 from the total from April 2019.

Southern Georgia ended April with 154,917 employed residents. The number decreased by 16,965 in April and was down 16,806 as compared to last year.

Employ Georgia, the GDOL’s online job listing service at employgeorgia.com showed 1,035 active job postings in Southern Georgia for April, and 1,427 active job postings for March.

In addition to Pierce, the 18-county South Georgia region includes Atkinson, Bacon, Ben Hill, Berrien, Brantley, Brooks, Charlton, Clinch, Coffee, Cook, Echols, Irwin, Lanier, Lowndes, Pierce, Tift, Turner and Ware.

Editor’s Note: An unemployment report for May has not yet been released.