ATLANTA - Initial unemployment claims in Georgia declined again last week for the ninth week in a row, the state Department of Labor reported Thursday.

Jobless Georgians filed 117,485 initial unemployment claims during the week ending June 27, down 8,240 from the previous week.

“The claims numbers continue to improve each week,” Georgia Commissioner of Labor Mark Butler said. “The sheer volume of claims is enough to overwhelm any office, but I am proud that my staff has worked day in and day out to accomplish a 91% payment record.”

Acknowledging the unprecedented workload massive unemployment resulting from the coronavirus pandemic has forced on the labor department, the General Assembly spared the agency from spending cuts when it adopted a fiscal 2021 state budget last week with $2.2 billion in spending reductions.

On Thursday, the department reported paying out more than $7.5 billion in state and federal unemployment benefits during the 15 weeks since the pandemic prompted shelter-in-place orders that forced Georgia businesses to close and lay off workers.

Since March 21, the job sector accounting for the most initial unemployment claims is accommodations and food services with 702,127. The health-care and social-assistance sector is well below that in second place with 338,505 initial unemployment claims, followed closely by retail trade with 319,225 claims.

More than 107,000 jobs are listed online at EmployGeorgia.com for Georgians to access. The labor department offers online resources for finding a job, building a resume and helping with other reemployment needs.

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