Florida finished 2020 by surpassing 5 million unemployment claims, according to Florida Department of Economic Opportunity data released this week.
There were 5.075 million total claims in the state between March 15 and Jan. 3. South Florida – the most populated region of the state — generated the most claims so far in the pandemic with three of the top four counties accounting for the highest amount of claims running from Palm Beach County to Miami-Dade County.
That region collectively compiled 949,497 unemployment benefit claims since the COVID-19 outbreak began, which is nearly one-fifth of the total state claims.
Orange County came in third behind Broward County. The Central Florida county accounted for 265,921 unemployment claims, largely due to COVID-19 impacts in the tourism-rich area.
Hillsborough County and Pinellas County in the Tampa Bay area came in fifth and sixth respectively with those two counties accounting for a combined 289,594 claims.
Duval County in the Northeast Florida region recorded the seventh most jobless claims with 108,557 filings.
Polk, Osceola and Lee counties rounded out the top 10 counties respectively with less than 100,000 claims each in unemployment filings.
There are now 4.819 million unique jobless claims in the state, meaning they are not duplicates. Out of those, 4.712 million claims have been processed. That’s about 99.1% of claims.
The total number of claims paid so far is 2.166 million. That amounts to about 97.3% of qualified claims.
As the unemployment claim count keeps going up, so does the cost of covering those who have lost jobs. The total price tag for covering jobless claims throughout the pandemic has now reached $19.85 billion, though most of that has been covered by federal funds.
The federal pandemic unemployment compensation and lost wage assistance fund has accounted for $12.302 billion. Another $1.842 billion has been picked up by the federal pandemic emergency unemployment compensation fund. And $1.839 billion has been covered by the federal pandemic emergency unemployment compensation fund.
The state reemployment assistance program has accounted for $3.865 billion of the cost.