Georgia Unemployment Rate Drops, but Mom-and-Pops Still in Jeopardy


Georgia officials announced Friday that the state’s unemployment rate had dropped for the 13th straight month from 4.3 percent in April to 4.1 percent for the month of May.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler, however, said more pressing matters remain.

“The unemployment rate is really not the important thing. It’s getting folks to go back to work. Sometimes you can actually see fewer people working, and the unemployment rate goes down. As we have made some of the changes and we are getting out of the federal programs. I think you will start to see employment go back up, which we need to. Take a look around. We have a lot of businesses struggling just to open their doors. They can’t get people to show up to work. If some things don’t change then we are going to put a lot of mom-and-pops out of business,” Butler told The Georgia Star News Saturday.

“If you talk to some of the businesses right now, I know people who have had to cut back hours, have had to cut days out because they cannot find enough people to work. The extra federal thing and the other stuff in place is constantly changed and constantly extended and is very hard to compete against. When the average person on unemployment in Georgia is making more than $14 an hour equivalent for a 40-hour work week to not work it is very hard for a business to compete with that. People say they don’t want to go back to lower-paying jobs, but right now we have employers paying $16 to $24 an hour who cannot find people.”

According to a press release that Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp emailed Friday, the national unemployment average is 5.8 percent.

“Protecting both lives and livelihoods throughout a global pandemic continues to pay off for hardworking Georgians,” Kemp said.

“Despite false attacks from the left and many in the media, the Peach State was the first state to safely reopen our economy and get more Georgians back to work and back to normal. Georgia continues to lead the nation in economic recovery as our unemployment rate drops for the thirteenth straight month.”

The number of jobs in May increased by 7,000, reaching a total of 4,481,100. This number is up 295,800 compared to the same time last year. Since April 2020, 424,100 or 70 percent of the 609,500 jobs lost in March 2020 and April 2020 have been gained back. Since March of 2020, the state has supported the creation of nearly 37,000 jobs – totaling 394 projects and 12 billion in investment.

Georgia Department of Labor (DOL) officials announced in May that the state’s unemployment rate dropped another 0.2 percentage points to reach 4.3 percent in April. Georgia officials reported in April that they had the lowest unemployment rate among the 10 most-populated states.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]









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