Florida Unemployment Claims Lowest Since Before the Pandemic

Unemployment line

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) reported the lowest number of initial unemployment claims in Florida since the week that ended March 14th, 2020.

According to the DOL, the week that ended June 5th recorded an estimated 5,800 initial unemployment claims, which is down from a revised number of 8,257 claims from the week before.

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Florida Unemployment Claims Trending Down

Governor DeSantis lifted the COVID-19 restrictions in the state of Florida and industries look to begin returning back to normalcy starting with the issue regarding unemployment claims. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, for the week that ended May 1st, 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 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 14th, 2020 when the number of new claims was only 256,000. 

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State of Ohio May Have Paid Fake COVID Claims Well in Excess of $330 Million

Scammers took nearly all of the $330 million in reported improper payments the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services made with Pandemic Unemployment Assistance funds, Director Kimberly Henderson said earlier this month.  That amount was funneled, in part, through 56,000 fake claims which were identified in December.  There were also overpayments on legitimate claims.

But there may be more fraud – much more – that is not yet reported.

Whether the $330 million is from misappropriation that happened in December alone, or is a pile of results spanning several months, is unknown. Henderson said total losses will likely be pinpointed at the end of February.

“They should be able to pinpoint the amount weekly, or monthly,” said Ohio State Representative Derek Merrin (R-Monclova). He continued, “we need to get checks and balances in place to ensure money isn’t stolen in the first place.”

One Ohio State Senator told The Ohio Star the Director has signaled to him that the amount of money lost in ODJFS processing is likely in the ballpark of $1B. 

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Extended Unemployment Benefits Federal Program Ending in Virginia

Approximately 20,000 Virginians who have been relying on extended unemployment benefits over the last several months amidst the coronavirus pandemic will no longer receive those payments come Saturday. 

The Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) announced Wednesday that it has been notified by the U.S. Department of Labor that the Extended Benefits Program in Virginia will end on November 21. 

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Ilhan Omar Introduces Federal Job Guarantee Bill

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05) introduced a bill last week that would create a “job guarantee program” at the U.S. Department of Labor.

The Workforce Promotion and Access Act, sponsored by Omar and Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ-12), seeks to get more Americans “back to work in living-wage jobs created directly by the federal government.”

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