Florida’s unemployment claims rise by 47,000, payments up to $1.5 billion

by | May 14, 2020

Florida unemployment claims rose slightly to 221,905 for the week ending May 9, as the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) on Thursday released their weekly report that saw total jobless claims nationwide dip to just under 3 million.

Nationally, 2.9 million claims were filed, with the new data outpacing analysts’ expectations by 500,000. The new weekly nationwide total brings the number of jobs lost during the start of coronavirus crisis in mid-March to 36.5 million — which represents 22.4 percent of the March labor force.

The new report, however, does have a silver lining. The new numbers mark the eighth week in a row that initial claims decreased after peaking at nearly 7 million in the final week of March. Economists say that this decline is promising, with many believing that claims are heading in the right direction. Last week’s number was down from the nearly 3.2 million initial claims filed the week ending May 2.

The latest figure in the Sunshine State, however, rose moderately, with Thursday’s total up 47,045 from 174,860 from the week prior.

Florida’s uptick in claims comes as many in the state continue to highlight the state’s unemployment filing system fiasco which has caused many in the state to point the finger at Governor Ron DeSantis and other Republican officials.

While unemployment systems around the U.S. suffer from an overwhelming surge of new claims, Florida’s system continues to make improvements to deal with the flood of new applicants.

According to a scorecard released by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) on Tuesday, nearly 2 million unique claims have been filed in the state since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Of those filings, over 1.1 million claims have been processed (over 78 percent of total unique claims) with over $1.5 billion paid to claimants since the start of the outbreak.

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