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Corona Economics

Unemployment: Feds log another 223,000 claims in Florida

Federal reports show 2.1 million Floridians have filed jobless claims since mid-March.

For the second consecutive week, about 223,000 Floridians filed for unemployment, according to the latest data covering new claims filed in the week ending last Saturday from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Requests for unemployment compensation from newly jobless Floridians totaled 223,927 during the latest week, up only a few hundred from the adjusted total of 223,082 filed during the week that ended May 9.

That puts the total of Floridians who’ve filed for unemployment just over 2.1 million since the unofficial beginning of the coronavirus crisis economic downturn, the week of March 16, according to the numbers compiled and reported Thursday by the Department of Labor.

The state’s official tally is a bit lower. Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity reports it has received just over 2 million unemployment compensation applications through Tuesday. And of those, only about 1.7 million have been confirmed as unique claims, not duplicates.

“This is a difficult time. I think we’re transitioning, hopefully, into a time where the economy can start to do a little bit better and hopefully much better in the not-too-distant future,” DeSantis told reporters Tuesday while giving an overview of efforts to improve the CONNECT system.

“I wish that could happen overnight. And maybe it will, but I gotta, you know, assume that that this is going to be a process,” he continued. “So, in the meantime, (we need to) get that payment out as quickly as possible. And I can report that there are people that have already been paid, who applied within the last 10 days, whose applications were submitted, fully done. They’re verified, and then the payment has gone out. So, the process that they’re using, has gotten a lot better. And it’s taken a lot of work.”

Florida’s onslaught of unemployment claims peaked in the week ending April 17, when 506,670 Floridians filed, according to the federal agency. That fell slightly to 433,103 new claims the following week, and then dropped dramatically to 174,860 for the week of May 2. The past two weeks have shown a slight uptick from the first week of May.

Any of those weeks would have been records for Florida’s unemployment claims prior to March 16, at least based on data the federal government has compiled since the early 1950s.

In March, Florida had a 4.3% unemployment rate, representing 444,000 people out of work. But that only included early numbers from the economic destruction caused the coronavirus forcing businesses to shut down or dramatically scale back.

The state Department of Economic Opportunity will release April unemployment figures on Friday. The national unemployment mark hit 14.7% in April.

Thursday’s Department of Labor report indicated that Florida’s numbers were impacted by layoffs in sectors such as agriculture, forestry, manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade and service industries.

Nationally, 2,438,000 new claims were logged during the week ending last Saturday, according to the Department of Labor. That’s down a little more than 10% from the total seen the previous week and is less than half of the totals of more than 6 million that the department reported in the weeks of late March and early April. There now have been about 39 million Americans who have filed unemployment claims since the coronavirus crisis crashed the economy, according to the agency.

Some of those people have returned to work. Through the end of the week of May 2, the most recent for which the federal agency has data, just over 27 million people were continuing to seek unemployment compensation.

During the most recent week, California saw the most new claims, with 246,000, followed by New York and then Florida.

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Content from the News Service of Florida was used in this report.

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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