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Georgia Department of Labor: 10 percent state’s entire population filed for unemployment

Anxiety continues for those unemployed by the pandemic-driven economic shutdown.

ATLANTA — State unemployment applications have soared again. The Georgia Department of Labor said 10 percent of the state’s entire population – which includes retirees and children – have filed for unemployment.  

Three weeks ago, a DeKalb County hair salon called Little Scissors shut its doors and sent home all its stylists, by order of the government.  Li Chou is one of them.  Her income came to a screeching halt.  

"Going into the fourth week [out of work], I am getting a little bit more nervous," said Chou, who is a new homeowner. 

"I had a dream a couple of days ago that I was going back to work tomorrow. I hope my dream comes true and I can get back soon," Chou added.

She has applied for unemployment, and has lots of company as businesses throughout Georgia have shut down to try to keep employees and customers safe from the coronavirus.

Credit: Little Scissors 1 Facebook page
Li Chou, foreground, at Little Scissors in DeKalb County

The state Department of Labor said it has processed 861,000 unemployment claims since March 14, representing about ten percent of the state’s entire population.

The state said it paid unemployment benefits to 290,600 Georgians last week. By comparison, the state paid unemployment benefits to about half that number the entirety of last year.

More than 380,000 users accessed the Department of Labor's website Wednesday, officials said.

RELATED: Georgia's unemployment rate rose 1.1% in March, with April outlook getting worse

"Staying home has gotten tough," said Dylan Snapp, a bartender who last worked a month ago at a bar in Athens called Sister Louisa’s Church. He is among the hundreds of thousands of out-of-work Georgians applying for state unemployment benefits.

"My mental health is pretty good. I’d say the last two days were pretty grim," Snapp said.  "I would assume it’s going to get a lot tougher by the end of May."

Snapp said he's struggled to get comfortable at home, but is learning to embrace it. 

RELATED: 'To-go' beer sales bring furloughed employees back to work at Monday Night Brewing

"You can’t work. It’s like, there’s nothing that you can do. So it’s OK to just relax," he said. 

Chou said hair stylists typically take unpaid vacations each year, and that she views this as one of them. 

 "I predicted it would be three weeks. But going into the fourth week, I am getting a little bit more nervous," Chou said.

11Alive is focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus. We want to keep you informed about the latest developments while ensuring that we deliver confirmed, factual information 

We will track the most important coronavirus elements relating to Georgia on this page. Refresh often for new information. 

RELATED: 5.2 million more seek unemployment aid as US layoffs continue to spread


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