City Stuff

“Florida Jobless Claims” Up Slightly Last Week!

Joe Biden
FILE – In this March 13, 2020 file photo, unionized hospitality workers wait in line in a basement garage to apply for unemployment benefits at the Hospitality Training Academy in Los Angeles. More than 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, far exceeding a record high set just last week, a sign that layoffs are accelerating in the midst of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

Florida had a slight uptick in first-time jobless claims last week, as the U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday reported 1.48 million initial unemployment applications nationally.

Florida had an estimated 93,394 claims during the week that ended June 20. That was up from 88,148 the prior week, as the second phase of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ economic reopening effort has showed signs of slowing amid increases in coronavirus cases, local governments starting to impose mandatory face-mask requirements and some recently reopened businesses requiring renewed cleaning after employees and customers tested positive.

The state Department of Economic Opportunity announced Friday that the state’s May unemployment rate was 14.5 percent, representing 1.412 million Floridians out of work from a labor force of nearly 9.71 million. A June rate will be announced July 17.

Florida’s 93,394 claims filed last week trailed only the 287,354 posted in California and the 124,283 in Georgia. New York had 90,186 claims, and Texas recorded 89,241. The numbers for Georgia, New York and Texas were all lower than in the prior week.

The slight uptick in Florida followed two weeks of declining first-time claims. Since March 15, when the coronavirus pandemic began hammering the state, more than 2.64 million jobless applications have been filed, with 2.4 million considered “unique,” according to the Department of Economic Opportunity.

Of the unique claims, more than 2.31 million had been processed as of Tuesday, with nearly 1.54 million claimants paid. Another 475,806 had been ruled ineligible for state and federal benefits. The state administers federal benefits passed by Congress as part of an economic-stimulus plan.

The Department of Economic Opportunity had paid out $7.29 billion in Florida and federal benefits, of which $1.8 billion was state money.

Florida this month has seen a surge of new coronavirus cases, including a record-high 5,508 cases reported Wednesday. Several counties and cities have responded by approving mandatory mask orders to try to slow the spread of the virus.

Universal Orlando, which had a limited reopening to the public earlier in June, confirmed this week an unspecified number of layoffs as it adjusted budgets in reaction to the virus.