In Florida, where Governor DeSantis recently lifted the COVID-19 restrictions, unemployment claims are headed down.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, for the week that ended May 1, 2020, there were approximately 18,355 first-time unemployment claims in Florida and 116,304 unemployment claims by individuals who had already filed an initial unemployment claim, also known as insured claims.
The 18,355 initial unemployment claims from that week is a 9,662 decrease from the 28,017 initial claims from the week before and the number of insured claims decreased from 129,628 in that same week. The decrease in new claims reflects the change in the national number of new claims during that week which was 498,000, a decrease of 92,000 from the prior week and the lowest number of initial claims since March 14, 2020 when the number of new claims was only 256,000.
A day later on March 15, 2020, DeSantis issued a work search waiver allowing people to receive unemployment benefits without reporting job applications to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO). After the waivers made unemployment benefits more easily attainable, Florida averaged a quarter million new unemployment applications a week with the highest amount of new claims reaching 506,670 during the week that ended on April 18, 2020.
With the work search waivers expiring May 29, people seeking unemployment benefits will have to begin reporting applications to registered career centers and the DEO. With the requirements for applying for unemployment benefits moving back to pre-pandemic procedures, the amount of unemployment claims on a weekly basis will likely start to fall because these procedures require people to apply for at least five jobs a week. In addition, the unemployment rate is likely to improve.
According to the DEO, in March 2021, the unemployment rate was 4.7% with 475,000 Floridians without jobs out of 10.17 million individuals part of the state’s labor force. An unemployment rate of 4.7% is just below the national unemployment rate of 6%. The next release by the DEO related to April unemployment rate will on May 21.
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Casey Owens is a writer at The Florida Capital Star. Follow him on Twitter at @cowensreports. Email tips to [email protected]