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Georgia jobless say they have many options

This comes as Governor Kemp considers curbing unemployment payments.

ATLANTA — Georgia jobs may be returning but many workers aren’t returning to fill them. 

"I’m not sweating it too much," said Nathan Dahlkamper, a film set designer who spent part of his Tuesday on the Atlanta Beltline after he says he decided to stop collecting a paycheck for a few weeks.

"I took like a month’s sabbatical just to relax and enjoy the spring," he said.  He says he is not collecting unemployment compensation.

Springtime has also marked a surge in COVID vaccinations – in business re-openings – and in job postings. The state Department of Labor lists 258,000 job openings – while 25,000 still filed for new unemployment claims. 

The governor said it’s a dilemma for an economy struggling to rebound. 

"How do we use the resources we have to fit with the working folks to get them back, but also support the business and quite honestly support the workers working now?" Gov. Brian Kemp said Tuesday. "We’re trying to match all of that and figure out the best plan forward."

That could include cutting unemployment compensation payments, he said.

"It is a great time to be finding work," a 19-year-old Kennesaw State student from Smyrna said. He said it’s a matter of balancing pay and benefits with an appealing work schedule.

"My husband is definitely picking up the slack with his job. I’m lucky. I know not everyone else is," said Leilani Golden Berfield, a furloughed United flight attendant with a new daughter and no desire to take another job she doesn’t really want.  She, too, said she is not collecting unemployment compensation.

"I think the economy is coming back and I’m excited for that," added Dahlkemper.  In the meantime, "you need to enjoy life. Come out to the Beltline and walk!"

    

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