First-time unemployment claims in Florida tracked upward for the first week of 2022, according to a U.S Department of Labor estimate on Thursday, registering 9,705 new claims for the week that ended Jan. 8, up from 4,299 the previous week.
The 9,705 claims last week were the highest total since 10,110 claims were filed during the week that ended Jul. 24 as the state was facing impacts from COVID-19’s Delta variant. Nationally, an estimated 230,000 claims were filed last week, up 23,000 from the prior week.
Last week, the Labor Department reported the U.S. added 199,000 jobs in December, below expectations of economists.
Florida in November had a 4.5 percent unemployment rate, with an estimated 483,000 Floridians out of work. The Sunshine State’s unemployment claims in recent months have been far below totals in 2020 after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic led to high levels of job loss.
Despite an increase in members of the labor force out of work, job numbers for the state still look to be optimistic. A recent economic analysis projects that Florida will return to its pre-pandemic employment numbers in the next 2 or 3 months.
“Since the onset of the pandemic, and how Florida’s unemployment rate initially climbed to a record 14.2 percent at the onset of COVID-19, the unemployment rate of Florida has decreased now to 4.2 percent as of November of last year , said David Gillespie, Florida Chamber Executive Vice President. “While the unemployment levels have returned to normal levels, she also explained how the labor force has expanded over the past 13 months, adding 621,000 people since October of 2020.”
Florida now boasts a labor force comprised of 10.63 million people, resulting in a labor force growth rate of 6.0 percent, compared to just 0.9 percent nationally.
Florida has also recovered over 90 percent of jobs lost due to the pandemic, seeing 4 consecutive quarters of GDP growth of at least 3.7 percent, outpacing the national GDP increase in each of those financial quarters.
Florida’s unemployment rate continued to decrease to 3.9 percent in December, which is down from the aforementioned 4.2 percent figure from November of 2021, helping the state become the 15th largest economy in the world, carrying a GDP of $1.23 trillion.
Over the course of 2021, Floridians represented 1 in every 13 new jobs created nationwide, however, when the scale of that figure is decreased to the most recent fiscal quarter, Floridians occupy 1 in every 4 new job positions.