The Dept. of Labor reported this week that the Georgia unemployment rate decreased 4/10’s of one percent to 4.4 % in February. That rate is ½ of 1% lower than the national unemployment rate.
According to the latest statistics, the state’s jobless rate declined as 14,914 people left the ranks of the jobless in Georgia in March. In addition, the state added 18,500 payroll jobs, primarily in trade and services.
All fourteen metro areas of the state had job gains, including 200 more jobs in Albany, a change of 3/10 of one percent, from 64,800 to 65,000. Jobs in Atlanta increased ½ of one percent, up 12,900 from 2,407,000 to 2,419,900.
A number of areas experienced modest job growth between 2/10s of one percent and 4/10s of one percent. These included Columbus with 200 new jobs at 2/10 of one percent, up to 123,000 jobs from the previous month’s total of 122,800. Valdosta and Rome each added 100 jobs, an increase of 2/10s of one percent from 44,900 to 45,000 for Rome. In Valdosta, the increase represents 2/10s of one percent, from 56,100 to 56,200.
Gainesville added 300 jobs to the local economy, an increase of 4/10s of one percent from 73,600 to 73,900. Macon also had an increase of 4/10s of one percent, adding 400 jobs from 100,100 to 100,500. Warner Robbins was also up 4/10s of one percent from 56,900 to 57,100 – a total increase of 200 jobs.
Hinesville showed an increase of ½ of one percent, or 100 jobs, from 18,300 to 18,400. Dalton had job growth of 8/10s of one percent from 78,700 to 73,900.
The highest job growth was reported in Brunswick and Savannah. Brunswick showed job growth of 1.1 percent with an increase of 500 jobs, from 45,400 to 45,900. Savannah showed an increase of 1.0 percent, adding 1,600 jobs from 156,900 to 158,500. In Augusta, with an increase of 7/10 of one percent or 1,400 jobs, up to 216,400 from 215,000.
The jobless rate in Athens was unchanged at 81,700.
Spring is in the air, birds are singing, flowers are blooming, and income taxes are due. Even if you only received unemployment benefits last year.
Formally called unearned compensation, Georgia unemployment benefits are taxable just as regular earnings are. Total unemployment benefits are reported on a 2006 1099 form, which was mailed to every recipient of benefits in January 2007. Your 1099 form must accompany your income tax return to both the state of Georgia and to the federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Copies of your 1099 form were mailed in January to you, the Georgia Department of Revenue, and the IRS. You must attach the appropriate copy to your income tax returns when you file them. This important document works in the same fashion as a W-2 does for an employed worker in the state of Georgia.
In addition to the total amount of unearned compensation paid to the unemployed worker, your 1099 will list deductions made from your unemployment benefits. Some reasons for the deductions might be because the state made payments on your behalf for child support or restitution issues decided in a court of law.
Income taxes paid on unemployment benefits can be handled in two ways. The unemployed worker can elect to have taxes withheld from each benefit check much the same way they are deducted from a regular paycheck or they can pay all income taxes at one time at the end of the year when filing state and federal income tax returns.
Independent contractors also receive 1099 forms to report earnings from the previous year. Contractors cannot choose to have income tax deductions withheld from their payments, however, and must pay them at the end of the year when filing their income tax returns. The exception is when earnings are high the contractor must make estimated quarterly payments instead.
If you haven’t received your 1099 form by now, please contact the nearest office of the Georgia Department of Labor, where a duplicate 1099 can be issued.
Laid-off Georgia autoworkers will get a much-needed lift from the federal government under a new program announced recently. The Career Advancement Account (CAA) is a newly announced project of the state of Georgia in collaboration with the U.S. Dept. of Labor.
According to a number of surveys, while the demand for autoworkers in the U.S. continues to decline, the need for other skilled workers increases. There will be high demand by 2014 for skilled labor in a number of industries, including healthcare, advanced manufacturing, biotechnology, energy, and transportation. In the healthcare industry alone, eight of the 20 fastest-growing jobs can be found. CAAs will allow workers to invest in their future by gaining the training to secure good jobs.
Between 2,500 and 4,000 automotive workers in several states could potentially take advantage of CAAs like the Georgia unemployment grant. States will be eligible for grants of $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Labor, provided they come up with $1.5 million in matching funds.
“Education is America’s great equalizer, and Career Advancement Accounts are like Pell Grants for workers — opening opportunities to increase their skills and equipping them for the competitive global economy,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training Emily Stover DeRocco.
The money is a grant, not a loan, and does not have to be repaid. Under the CAA program, unemployed autoworkers will be eligible for accounts worth $3,000, for any type of training that they like. Even better, the grants are renewable for one year, meaning the workers are eligible for a total of $6,000.
According to some estimates, the widespread implementation of CAAs would more than triple the number of American workers who could access post-secondary education and training. Career Advancement Accounts are part of a broader effort to redirect the billions of dollars spent nationwide on worker training.
Workers in Georgia can receive Unemployment Insurance even if they do not meet the traditional qualifications listed on most employment insurance posters. Georgia Unemployment Insurance posters inform employees that workers may receive temporary income for workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own and who are looking for another job. Workers with definite recall to their jobs within 6 weeks of the last day worked or are in approved training are also listed as eligible on Georgia Employment Insurance posters.
The funding for unemployment insurance benefits comes from taxes paid by you, the employer. Workers do not pay any costs. Eligibility for benefits is determined based on past wages, reason for job separation, and availability and job search requirements listed on Georgia Employment Insurance Posters. Claims for unemployment insurance may be filed at any Georgia Department of Labor Career Center. An employee is required to bring evidence of his/her social security number and an Employer-issued separation letter or notice, if one was provided. Therefore, it is in your best interest to provide such a letter to substantiate any false claims.
The funding for unemployment insurance benefits comes from taxes paid by employers. Georgia depends on the employer to supply information necessary to process claims promptly and efficiently. This can be done by maintaining the required employee records in the required form, posting the Georgia Unemployment Insurance posters, and posting a statement of the employer’s policies regarding unemployment insurance.
For example, employers have the responsibility to provide prompt and accurate information to insure that only those claimants meeting the necessary eligibility requirements will receive benefits. This action will avoid unnecessary charges to the employer’s account. The burden of proof that the employee was terminated for good cause is on the employers. Without employer representation at an appeals hearing, there is only the employee’s account of the separation for use in a determination.
Georgia Unemployment Insurance posters are currently available reflecting all of the most recent information regarding state and federal labor laws.