Florida sees small increase in jobless claims

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Posted June 18, 2021 | News Service of Florida

Florida saw a slight uptick in new unemployment claims last week, yet the numbers continued to be among the lowest since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020.

The U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday estimated 8,889 initial jobless claims were filed in Florida during the week that ended June 12, up from a revised count of 6,552 during the week that ended June 5.

The department had initially estimated 5,800 claims were filed during the week that ended June 5. The state is running a four-week average of 8,395 new claims a week. That is the lowest four-week average since before March 15, 2020, which the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity marks as the start of the pandemic in considering unemployment claims.

Nationally, an estimated 412,000 new claims were filed last week, an increase of 37,000 from a revised count for the prior week. Andrew Stettner, an expert on unemployment insurance and senior fellow at The Century Foundation, said that despite a slight uptick in new claims, the figures continue to show “a vast improvement from the million-per-week pace that persisted through March.” Florida will release a May unemployment report Friday. The data will reflect the job market as of mid-May, when weekly unemployment claims were averaging 18,975 a week in the state.

Florida’s unemployment rate was 4.8% in April, reflecting an estimated 487,000 Floridians out of work from a workforce of 10.24 million. In mid-April, the weekly average of new claims over the prior four weeks was 18,495.

The state on June 26 will stop providing $300 a week in federal unemployment assistance to jobless Floridians on top of the maximum $275 a week provided by the state. The decision, part of an effort to push people back into the workforce, follows the reimplementation this month of a “work search” rule that requires unemployment claimants to apply for five jobs a week.

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