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More Georgia unemployed seek benefits

242,772 claims filed last week

ATLANTA — Another quarter million or so Georgians filed for unemployment last week. The statewide unemployment rate will be released next week and is expected to hit double digits.  Unemployment continues to hit the food service industry hardest – with many of its wayward workers now looking for other lines of work.

"It’s just matter of right now, how to earn money. I’m looking into doing things like Uber Eats, delivering food, whatever for right now," said Amanda Beard, furloughed from her restaurant job because of the pandemic.

In Georgia, unemployment claims were at their highest in early April – then slowly dropped.  They leveled out somewhat in mid April – with a quarter million or so new claims each week.  

The labor department has paid claims to 575,000 unemployed Georgians – more than the previous four years combined.  But hundreds of thousands haven’t been paid. Furloughed from his job in the auto service industry, Brian Butcher of Alpharetta was one of them.

"What was frustrating was all my coworkers got their benefits up until the week after we were furloughed and last week, and I got nothing," Butcher said. "With the federal and the state (benefits), it's about $4000 worth of money. So yeah, it’s put my family in a bind." Butcher said repeated emails and calls to the state Labor Department went unanswered.

11Alive News sent Butcher’s complaint to the state – and Butcher says the state resolved it Thursday afternoon.  And his employer recalled him back to work a few days ago  -- a bright moment in a story with far too few of them.

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