Pandemic unemployment approaches 5.5M claims in Florida

Unemployment theme with virus craft objects
The past week saw more unemployment claims than any so far in 2021.

The number of new unemployment filings in the past week surpassed 145,000 in the state, according to Florida Department of Economic Opportunity data released this week.

There have now been 5.454 million unemployment claims made in Florida since the outbreak of COVID-19 in March. That figure is up by more than 145,000 in the past week, the biggest weekly increase so far in 2021.

The new filings for unemployment benefits in Florida per week have not been less than 91,000 so far this year. What’s striking is those single-week jobless claims had been falling sharply in the waning weeks and months of 2020.

September through December saw only one week in October that had more than 100,000 new claims. Those filings fell off sharply in the fall because most businesses and workplaces had adjusted to the pandemic after initial weeks and months when as many as 500,000 Floridians were filing jobless claims each week into early summer months.

There are now 5.11 million confirmed unique jobless claims filed in Florida since the beginning of the pandemic 10 months ago. Out of those, 4.95 million have been processed in the state. That’s about 98.7% of those filings.

Another 2.192 million claims have been paid in Florida. That amounts to 96.6% of the eligible claims.

The cost of providing unemployment help in Florida continues to rack up, with federal programs picking up most of the bill. A total of $20.718 billion has been paid out to Florida workers seeking jobs assistance since the outbreak set in.

The federal pandemic unemployment compensation and lost wage assistance fund has covered about $12.707 billion of those claims. Another $2.126 billion has been paid by the federal pandemic unemployment assistance program and the federal pandemic emergency unemployment compensation program has foot the bill for about $1.938 billion in payouts.

Florida is not free of any of the financial responsibilities for helping the unemployed since the pandemic gripped the state. The state reemployment assistance program has covered about $3.946 billion in jobless assistance.

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].

One comment

  • Help Needed

    January 26, 2021 at 4:33 pm

    updates needed on claims still not paid for pending review over 9 months and still counting.

Comments are closed.


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