GDOL: Unemployment Claims Reach Record High in March

GDOL Press Release:  

ATLANTA – State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said today that the number of initial unemployment claims has reached an all-time high.

March 2020 labor statistics also revealed that the over-the-month increase for the unemployment rate was the largest on record.

“We are reaching unprecedented claim levels of almost one million Georgians filing for unemployment,” said Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. “That is one in every ten people who are turning to the GDOL for unemployment assistance. This is a massive undertaking, but one that I know we are capable of achieving.”

The unemployment rate increased by 1.1 percentage points in March, to reach 4.2 percent. A year ago, the rate was 3.7 percent.

March showed a decrease of 77,876 employed residents over the month, bringing the total to 4,917,324, the largest over the month drop since February 2010. This number has increased by 18,497 over the year.

Georgia’s labor force was down by 22,434 to reach a total of 5,133,913, the largest over-the-month drop since March 2010 and the lowest labor force total since September 2019. This total was up 47,461 from this time last year.

Jobs in Georgia were down by 7,000 over the month. However, they were up 42,800 over the year, reaching a total of 4,645,100.

Unemployment claims showed an increase of 290,068 claims or 1,292 percent in March and were up by 293,774 claims or 1,567 percent from March 2019. The monthly total was higher than the annual total for each of the previous two years, 291,962 in 2019, and 310,494 in 2018.

The following sectors saw the highest increase in initial claims for unemployment over the month.


  • Accommodation and Food Services – 132,564
  • Health Care and Social Assistance– 37,621
  • Trade – 23,074

Employ Georgia posted more than 99,632 statewide job listings during the month of March.

The Georgia Department of Labor strives to increase economic opportunity for all Georgians through strategic collaboration, innovative technology solutions, and cutting-edge workforce initiatives. It is our mission to Employ Georgia. For more information, visit To view the latest job listings in Georgia, visit