Business Briefs: Georgia cuts rates for unemployment insurance as jobless duration sinks to five-week average

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With the unemployment rate the lowest in more than a half century, Georgia employers will pay $45 million less in unemployment insurance premiums next year.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the Peach State has one of the shortest average durations of unemployment claims in the country at just eight weeks - just over half the U.S. rate of 15 weeks. With more workers on the payroll contributing to Georgia's unemployment insurance fund and fewer jobless persons getting benefits than in the past, Butler said the fund needs less tax money.

"Reducing taxes is the right thing to do for hardworking Georgians, in this case Georgia's businesses," he said.

Tax breaks for companies will depend on the number of employees and frequency of claims filed, Butler said.

Along with businesses receiving a tax cut, Georgia increased the maximum for weekly benefits from $330 a week to $365 a week, effective July 2019.