Today, Governor Brian Kemp announced Georgia’s plan to join several other states in ending pandemic-related additional unemployment payments.
The move is an attempt to get Georgians back on track and back to work.
Georgia Public Policy Foundation President and CEO Kyle Wingfield says the announcement will help the state overcome a crucial obstacle to economic recovery.
“During the pandemic, a great many Georgians lost their jobs through no fault of their, or their employer’s, own,” Wingfield said. “But since Governor Kemp began reopening the state’s economy last year, the labor market has improved dramatically. Georgia’s labor force is back to more than 99 percent of what it was before the pandemic, and employment is more than 98 percent as high. The jobless rate has fallen back to 4.5 percent, where it was as recently as four years ago.
“It’s unlikely we would have seen job growth continue back then if an extra $300 per week in unemployment benefits were available, and last month’s jobs report shows the same is true now. Employers are desperate to hire, job openings are plentiful, and wages are rising. That’s a recipe for encouraging people to go back to work — not discouraging them by maintaining emergency benefits. We applaud Governor Kemp and Labor Commissioner Mark Butler for this commonsense step toward normalcy.”
In a recent commentary, Georgia Public Policy Foundation Vice President Benita Dodd discussed the deeper benefits behind getting back to work:
“Promoting the work ethic that is foundational to America extends beyond getting Americans off the taxpayer dime – although that is an added benefit. As one study found, a working individual in a household is a role model and the most important guide out of poverty to young people in the community. The dignity of work, of individual initiative, cannot be underestimated.”
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