59,000 Floridians file for pandemic-related jobless help in past week

Unemployment caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.
The cost of Florida unemployment has exceeded $19.3 billion in federal and state funds.

There were about 59,000 new pandemic-related jobless claims in Florida in the past week, according to Florida Department of Economic Opportunity data released this week.

In total there have been 4.9 million unemployment claims in the state due to coronavirus since the outbreak began in March.

That uptick is the second lowest weekly increase since the beginning of the pandemic in Florida. The lowest weekly addition of jobless claims due to the COVID-19 outbreak was during the last week of November into the first week of December when there were 55,000 new claims.

The latest numbers show a more optimistic trend than the beginning months of the pandemic. In the spring and into summer months, there were weeks where as many as 500,000 people per week in Florida were filing for unemployment assistance as businesses began to layoff workers or closed completely as the outbreak forced many people to stay at home and refrain from going into stores or restaurants.

Claims began dropping in late summer when there were between 60,000 to 70,000 people each week seeking jobs assistance. October saw a brief uptick in those numbers when one week saw 108,000 new filings.

There are now 4.69 million confirmed unique claims for pandemic-related unemployment benefits in Florida, meaning they ae not duplicates.

Another 4.58 million claims have been processed since the beginning of the outbreak in Florida. That’s about 99% of the claims filed so far.

About 97.5% of the total claims filed have been paid in Florida. That’s about 2.135 million claims.

The cost of the pandemic-related unemployment assistance continues to rack up in federal and state funds. The total price tag now stands at $19.303 billion in Florida.

Federal funding has covered most of the cost with  $12.216 billion being paid for by federal pandemic unemployment compensation and wage assistance. Another $1.734 billion is being covered by the federal pandemic emergency unemployment compensation fund and the federal pandemic unemployment assistance fund is paying for another $1.584 billion.

Florida’s reemployment assistance fund has picked up $3.768 billion of the unemployment assistance funding.

Drew Dixon

Drew Dixon is a journalist of 40 years who has reported in print and broadcast throughout Florida, starting in Ohio in the 1980s. He is also an adjunct professor of philosophy and ethics at three colleges, Jacksonville University, University of North Florida and Florida State College at Jacksonville. You can reach him at [email protected].


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