Florida reaches 5.3 million jobless claims in pandemic

Unemployment has grown again in recent weeks, likely due to the end of seasonal jobs.

There were about 91,000 new unemployment claims in Florida in the past week, according to Florida Department of Economic Opportunity data released Monday.

The state has now tallied 5.309 million claims since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak in March. The weekly increase is less than the previous week, which saw about 143,000 new jobless filings in the state.

It’s likely the jump in new jobless claims in the past two weeks are due to the end of seasonal holiday jobs that always increase and then fall off soon after New Years Day. Prior to the beginning of 2021, unemployment claims had fallen between 50,000 to 70,000 new filings each week.

That’s after the worst of the rush of unemployment claims skyrocketed during the early phases of the pandemic when there were as many as 500,000 new jobless filings in Florida each week heading into early summer months as many businesses laid off workers or closed outright due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Jobless claims started to subside into July and August and fall months saw the numbers drop to under 100,000 new claims per week for the vast majority of weeks.

There have been 5.007 million unique claims since the outbreak began. That means filings that were not duplicates.

Another 4.874 million claims have been processed, which is about 99% of those claims. Of those, 2.282 million claims have been paid. That’s about 96.8% of those claims.

The total cost of unemployment claims in the Sunshine State since March has grown to $20.334 billion. Most of that has been covered through federal sources.

The federal pandemic unemployment compensation and lost wage assistance fund has accounted for $12.394 billion of the bill of jobless. Another $2.011 billion has been picked up by the federal pandemic unemployment assistance program and about $1.908 billion has been paid by federal pandemic unemployment compensation.

Florida is still kicking in some funding. The state reemployment assistance program has accounted for $3.92 billion paid to Floridians since the outbreak began.

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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