ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) -- April jobless reports have come in looking rather grim as the state hits record highs, but some officials are feeling optimistic.
The Georgia Department of Labor released updated numbers showing the unemployment rate is 11.9%, eclipsing the previous high of 10.6% set in December of 2010. Even so, Department of Labor officials are optimistic things will rebound.
"Georgia, I do believe is rear and ready to go back to work," said Georgia Department of Labor commissioner Mark Butler.
Butler added that while April’s job numbers show unprecedented highs, things aren’t as bad as they seem.
"If you take a look at Employ Georgia, there’s almost 100,000 jobs sitting out there right now. That employers who are wanting to fill openings. So this is not the same thing as being in an economic recession where there aren't any jobs," added Butler, who also says we are in a temporary recession and that things will get back to normal as soon as the health crisis is addressed.
Economic Forecasting Professions Rajeev Dhawanl disagrees.
"People are saying I spent so much time isolating myself and protecting my health I am not willing to take the risk of going out and eating in a restaurant because if I catch it, the small chance I catch it, there is no medicine", said Dhawanl, who says he believes the unknown will prevent a quick rebound.
"We don’t know how many people safely can be in a room... and my thinking is that as long as we cannot have at least 100 people in a place together, we’re gonna have a hard time reopening this economy. So as long as the corporate sector doesn’t open up, the restaurants and other businesses are not going to get the uplift because the customers are not there," added Dhawanl. Still, he believes manufacturing plants that allow for social distancing will be among the first industries to rebound.
Department of labor officials are confident the unemployment rate will turn back to normal soon.
"We know there’s jobs out there right now. What we’re seeing is a temporary recession based on a health crisis and also some artificial things that are going to affect our economy at lease for the next several months," added Butler.