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Local Department of Labor office tries to help Sumter County’s unemployed due to COVID-19

AMERICUS – The COVID-19 Coronavirus has wreaked havoc on the nation’s economy. According to an article published in the British newspaper, The Guardian, a record 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment claims last week due to the fact that the COVID-19 Virus pandemic has shut down large segments of the nation’s economy. According to another report from CNBC, economists at the Federal Reserve’s St. Louis District project that as many as 47 million Americans could lose their jobs as the result of the coronavirus crisis and that the nation’s unemployment rate could hit as high as 32 percent.

Sumter County is not exempt from this downward trajectory.

As a result, the Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) is working with the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) to help all Georgians who are unemployed due to the COVID-19 crisis, including those here in Sumter County.

According to information on the GDOL’s website, www.dol.georgia.gov, the USDOL held a national call on Thursday, April 2, to discuss the implementation of the CARES (Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act, which was signed by President Trump on Friday, March 27. According to www.dol.georgia.gov, the purpose of the CARES Act is to expand unemployment insurance benefits and other economic relief measures aimed at reducing the economic impact of the novel coronavirus 2019 (“COVID-19”) pandemic and authorized $2.1 trillion in aid to various sectors of the economy. More specifically, CARES provides for the following:

 

  1. Provides for Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation of $600 weekly in addition to regular state benefits.
  2. Extends state unemployment benefits by 13 weeks of federally funded benefits added to the end of regular state UI benefits.
  3. Expands eligibility for those not eligible for regular, extended benefits, or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, including self-employed individuals, independent contractors, those with limited work histories, and those unable to work due to the enumerated COVID-19 related reasons.

 

The GDOL says on its website that it signed all of the necessary agreements on Saturday, March 28, to access the funding for the CARES Act. However, the USDOL has directed the states to “wait for specific guidance on implementation procedures for this federal program before distributing funds on behalf of the federal government.”