Northwest Georgia’s unemployment claims spiked in March, Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said Thursday, April 23.

Due to the effects of COVID-19, all regions and counties throughout the state saw a dramatic incline in initial claims along with the unemployment rate.

“Although we are seeing the effects of COVID-19 throughout the state in spikes in unemployment, we are working very diligently to come up with solutions to get Georgians back to work as soon as it is safe to do so,” Butler said.

In Northwest Georgia, the unemployment rate increased in March to 4.2 percent, an increase of 0.6 percentage points. A year ago, the rate was 3.6 percent.

The number of unemployment claims dramatically increased by 895 percent in March due to COVID-19-related temporary lay-offs. When compared to last March, claims were up by about 680 percent.

The labor force decreased in March by 2,759. The March total was 423,953. That number is up by 4,300 from the total from March 2018.

Northwest Georgia ended March with 405,999 employed residents. The number decreased by 5,557 in March and was up 1,327 as compared to last year.

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