Blog

Unemployment

Georgia unemployment insurance claims rose from 18,746 to 312,520 from March of 2019 to March of 2020. As a result of COVID-19, many Georgians have lost their job resulting is a massive spike in unemployment claims.

The Georgia Department of Labor shows unemployment claims for each county on their website. You can find the document here.

How do I file for UI Benefits in Georgia?

If you have been permanently laid-off or are unable to work due to the coronavirus, you will be responsible for your unemployment claim. Click here then scroll to the bottom to begin your unemployment claim.

According to the Georgia Department of Labor, you will need to have the following information available before you begin applying:

  • Your Social Security Number
  • Your work history for the past 2 years (including the name, address, telephone number, employment dates, rate of pay, total earnings, and information about your job separation for each employer). If you received severance pay or retirement pay, you must know the amounts.

If your hours were reduced or you were temporarily laid-off, ask you employer about them filing on your behalf.

CARES Act and Unemployment

Under the CARES Act, indviduals eligible for unemployment may also receive an extra $600 a week. The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is subject to taxes and child support. You can learn more about the CARES Act here.

If you or someone you know are looking for work, we hire for some of Savannah’s best logistics companies. Apply at www.horizonstaffing.com/apply then give our office at 912-355-5966.

Virtual Interview

To keep in line with social distancing protocols, many companies that are still hiring employees have switched to a new interview process – virtual interviews. Platforms like Zoom, Skype and Google Hangouts allow companies to interview potential employees without being in the same room. Even though you are interviewing from the comfort of your home, it is still an interview and you should treat it with the same importance. All interviews can be nerve-wracking, but the changes that come with a virtual interview can make it especially overwhelming. Though the essence of the interview won’t change, many aspects of it will require you to prepare differently. That’s why we want to give you the do’s and don’t’s of virtual interviews. If you take our advice, you’re sure to win during your virtual interview!

Do

  • Practice interview questions – typical interview questions include “Tell me about yourself,” “What are your strengths and weaknesses,” and “Tell us about a time you overcame an obstacle in the workplace.” Practicing answers to these kinds of questions will help ease your nerves and confidence during your interview.
  • Wear a professional outfit – Even though you won’t be in the office with your interviewers, you still need to dress the part. You may think that because you will be sitting and the interviewers will only be able to see your top half, you still need to wear a complete professional outfit. So, yes, you have to wear pants.
  • Print your resume – Your interviewer will most likely have a copy of your resume on hand, but you need one too. During your interview, you may want to make references to your resume, and having your own hard copy will show your preparedness and only help you during your interview.
  • Make sure your computer is updated – Imagine this: your interview is scheduled at 2 p.m. You power up your laptop at 1:30 p.m. to find out you have a hefty update required before you can log on. The day before your interview, check your laptop for any needed updates and get those taken care of.
  • Do a trial run – practice using the app, website or software that you will be using for your virtual interview. Have a friend pretend to be the interviewer and practice the interview, from start to finish to get all the kinks out before the real-deal.

Don’t

  • Wing it – This is still an interview, so you need to treat it with the same significance you would if you were driving to an office to interview.
  • Wear stripes or loud patterns – Camera don’t like patterns or stripes. They create weird images on your interviewers screen, so stick to solid colors that look good on camera.
  • Chew gum – This goes for in-person interviews also. You might think ti will keep your breath fresh during your interview or help you focus, but really it can be a horrible distraction for your interviewers. Plus no one wants to see you smacking on gum while you’re talking to them.
  • Go to a public place – Unless you absolutely have to, don’t go to a public place for the interview. Instead, find a quiet area in your house. Make sure the decor behind you isn’t too distracting.
  • Panic – No matter what, keep calm. Your interviewer is most likely conducting virtual interviews for the first time. They have their own struggles and nerves coming into the interview. Keep your cool and you will do great!
working from home with a child

In response to COVID-19, many companies have been allowing their employees to work from home. Radio broadcasts are coming from the living rooms of the broadcasters. Teams are meeting through Zoom or other video meeting platforms. Most employees who are now faced with the challenge of completing their work from home have never faced this kind of situation before. In an office, there are few distractions. Your coworkers are right next to you and your supervisor is usually easily accessible for guidance. When working from home, you have to find ways to stay productive and make the most of your situation.

Pick a Space

If you’re one of the many faced with taking your work home, you need to pick a space to work. You may be tempted to compile your analytics or draft documents on your couch while watching Netflix, but don’t. Pick a spot in your house that you can set up like an office space. The reason we haven’t always been working from home is because our houses are full of distractions. If you’re going to maintain productivity, you need to set up a space in your home that allows you to work as distraction-free as possible.

Manage your time

Plan your daily schedule, and keep your team updated on it. Decide when you will work and when you will be off the clock. You need to keep boundaries between your work and home lives, just as if you were driving to your office everyday. Be reasonable when planning your schedule. No matter how much you plan, there will always be something that comes up, especially if you have children. Allow a degree of flexibility in your schedule to account for the unplanned.

Take breaks

Don’t expect to work for 8 straight hours or to make it through the day without having to stop a couple of times. The Pomodoro Technique is a highly recommended technique designed to boost productivity. To use the Pomodoro, you set a timer for 25 minutes. In the 25-minute span, get as much work done on a certain task as you can. When your timer goes off, you take a short 5-10 minute break. Have a cup of coffee, walk outside, meditate, or anything else to clear your mind and give your brain a break. After four 25-minute sets, you take a longer break – 15-20 minutes. Plan your tasks and cut out distractions in order to be your most productive self.

Don’t get stuck on 9 to 5

You’ve committed a number of hours every day or week, but that doesn’t mean they have to be during a certain time. Work early morning while your children or spouse are still asleep. Take advantage of naps for young children and bedtimes for those in your house. You’re not required to get all of your work done while everyone in your house is awake. Be smart and take advantage of quiet times in your house.

Working from home is a big change for a lot of people, so make sure you are prepared and have a plan in place. Try not to be too hard on yourself if it takes some time for you to get adjusted to your new normal.

If you’re out of work, apply with us.

In a Savannah Morning News opinion piece, Casey Cagle, Georgia’s Lieutenant Governor pointed out that Georgia’s Ports “have harnessed their true potential to generate an engine of economic prosperity for our entire state.” He also noted that “Georgia’s geographic location gives us many strategic advantages…allowing Georgia to serve as the seaport gateway for 80 percent of the nation’s marketplace.”

He explained how “within two days of docking in Savannah, the goods from a vessel can reach over 80 percent of the United States.”  As he noted “businesses can import raw materials and develop finished products all over Georgia. This creates jobs.” 

Great News Horizon Staffing Just Opened a New Location in Pooler at 400 US Hwy 80 West

Georgia Ports Setting Records

From the 10 months (July 2016 to April 2017), Georgia’s seaports in Savannah and Brunswick were ahead of fiscal year 2015’s record-setting pace, according to Griff Lynch, the chief executive of the Georgia Ports Authority. At that juncture, he projected that the total amount of cargo through the two ports would outpace the almost 32 million tons (29 million metric tons) of imports and exports Georgia had in the fiscal year 2015.  That was the busiest year yet for the two ports, but it was helped along by a short-term surge in business due to labor issue on the West Coast. This forced many shippers to reroute a lot of their cargo to ports on the East Coast, including Savannah and Brunswick. Lynch also thought the Port of Savannah would also break the record of 3.6 million container units from 2015 and that it would be a more sustainable, long-term trend.

“What we have going on here is just true, organic growth,” Lynch said during a recent meeting board meeting for the port authority. He attributed some of the growth to the expanded Panama Canal this summer. This has enabled larger ships with weightier loads to come to and move through the Savannah Ports. A more robust economy, evidenced by more imports and exports, has also spurred growth.

Expanded Panama Canal Sends 40% of Traffic to Savannah Port

Cagle also believes the relationship with Panama and its President, Juan Carlos Varela, a Georgia Tech graduate is a “particularly significant” one for Georgia and the ports. Currently, 40% of the traffic that passes through the Panama Canal ends up at the Port of Savannah. This is likely to increase when the harbor is dredged.

From July 2016 to April 2017 (fiscal year 2017) the Savannah and Brunswick ports handled 7.5 percent more total cargo tonnage than they did during the same period last year.

Lisa Yannett, V.P. Horizon Staffing

General Labor Jobs in Garden City Area – Non-TWIC and TWIC Holder Positions Available 

Want a TWIC Card? Find Out How to Get One Here.

“The Savannah metro economy returned to healthy growth in the opening quarter of 2017,” according to Armstrong’s Coastal Economic Monitor.

The local economy put the effects of Matthew behind it in the first quarter of 2017, as the economy saw “gains in total employment, boardings at the airport, retail sales, port activity, and consumer confidence.” But electricity sales did suffer due to a warmer than usual weather in the winter months.

The forecasting Coastal Empire leading economic index increased markedly, a signal that the “underlying indicators shook off the effect of Hurricane Matthew, which dented the economy in the previous quarter.” The regional labor market and housing market got back on track trending positively as they have the last few years. Building permits were a big winner as issuance started to grow again after a lackluster 2016.  New claims for unemployment insurance also dropped to its lowest level in 17 years.

The Coastal Empire coincident economic index increased 1.2% (4.8% annualized) to 178.4 from 176.3 (revised) in the previous quarter. The pace of expansion quickened to more than double that of the previous quarter and returned growth to a level exceeding that experienced during spring and summer 2016.” – Coastal Empire Economic Monitor

Job Outlook

Total employment for the Savannah MSA during the first quarter averaged 178,500. That’s 1,900 jobs (+2%) more than Q4 of 2016. Business/professional services, leisure and hospitality, and retail trade all increased by more than 500 workers, while manufacturing lost 100 jobs.

Savannah Ports

Savannah’s port facilities continued to set records.  For six consecutive months —November through April— the port has set new monthly volume records. So far, seasonally adjusted container handling has grown 4.6% no a quarterly basis. It has jumped 10% from a year-ago.

Tourism

The tourism industry saw a bit of a lull, as seasonally adjusted hotel room rental revenue ticked down in Q1. This was attributed to “above-average hotel sales along I-95 during the fourth quarter as a result of Hurricane Matthew.” The Monitor predicted that activity would “return to trend growth during the second quarter.” Hotel revenue still outpaced year-ago revenues by  7.7%.

The number of persons taking tours in the city increased 5% and is 5% higher than last year at this point. Boarding at the airport did even better and was up 15% for the quarter and on the year. The leisure and hospitality sector of the economy also saw it’s employment hit an all-time high of 27,900.

Forecasting Index Rises Sharply

The Coastal Empire leading economic index leaped 2.8% percent (+11.8%, annualized), climbing to 158.3 from 154.0 in
the Q of 2016. (See red line on the graph at the top of the article.) Changes in residential home building permit issuance, consumer expectations in the South Atlantic states and the US leading economic index drove the index upwards. In addition, initial claims for unemployment insurance fell significantly following a jump in Q4 of 2017 due to Hurrican Matthew.

Housing

The housing market also performed well. Building permit issuance for single-family homes (seasonally adjusted) climbed for the second straight quarter. It jumped 12% from Q4 and 6% from a year ago. So 496 homes have been permitted for construction, 52 more than in Q4 of 2016. But the average valuation of building permits for single-family homes did drop $7,000 from $233,000 to $226,000 or 3% for the first quarter of 2017.

Unemployment

Hurricane Matthew’s impact on the regional job market faded fast after Q4. Initial claims for unemployment insurance (UI) plunged 40% to 535 per month for Q1 — the lowest mark since spring of 2000. In Q4 of 2016, the jobless filed 898 claims.  The regional unemployment rate also decreased from 5.1% (Q4/2016) to 4.8% (Q1/2017). from 5.1% in the previous quarter. By comparison, the unemployment rate stood at 5.2% in Q1 of 2016.

Bottom Line

After a temporary setback in Q4 of 2016, the Savannah regional economy is back on track and outpacing its performance in 2016. The Monitor expects this show of strength to continue through the rest of 2017.