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Athens Unemployment Claims Spike 2,000 Percent


Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler.

Nearly 5,000 Athens residents filed for unemployment in March, according to the Georgia Department of Labor.

Clarke County had 4,868 initial unemployment claims last month. That’s a 2,346% increase over February, when there were 199, and a 2,698% increase over March 2019, when there were 174.

Metro Athens—which also includes Oconee, Madison and Oglethorpe counties—finished the month with 96,300 jobs, down 300 from the previous month, and 94,982 employed residents, down 1,978. The unemployment rate rose from 3.3% to 4.2%.

Statewide, the labor department received 312,520 initial unemployment claims, up from 22,452 in February. The state’s unemployment rate rose from 3.1% to 4.2%. With restaurants limited to takeout and delivery, events and conferences canceled and hotels virtually empty, the service and hospitality industries were hardest hit.