April was the cruelest month for about 1 million jobless Georgians, tossed out of work since the governor opened it with a stay-home order to contain COVID-19.
That emergency response to a public health crisis wreaked havoc on a state economy largely powered by hospitality and travel.
More than 290,000 Georgians got unemployment benefits in the first full week in April alone. The department distributed at least $309 million to out-of-work Georgians in 2020 at last count, more than it paid out in all of 2018 or 2019.
On April 2020’s last day, the Georgia Department of Labor is set to announce new weekly jobless claim numbers Thursday afternoon, just hours before Gov. Brian Kemp’s stay-home order is scheduled to expire. He announced at the beginning of last week he’d lift some restrictions on businesses including hair salons, gyms and restaurants but hasn’t said yet whether he will extend his shelter-in-place order.