New unemployment claims in Florida totaled 169,885 in the week ending last Saturday, the second consecutive week of more than 100,000 but down some from the previous week as the coronavirus crisis economic collapse continued to push people out of work.
The total of claims in Florida nonetheless was the second-highest ever, following the record-smashing 228,484 [adjusted from the previous week’s report] Floridians who sought benefits the week before, according to the latest numbers released by the U.S. Department of Labor.
Almost 500,000 Floridians have filed first-time claims for unemployment insurance in the past three weeks.
Florida followed a national pattern: across America, 6.6 million people made first-time claims for unemployment benefits in the week ending last Saturday, following a slightly higher 6.8 million [adjusted] total the previous week.
Overall, nearly 17 million Americans have filed for benefits in three weeks time, by far an unprecedented pool of economic desperation for the department’s record keeping.
In Florida, the claims added up even as the state struggled for weeks to overcome a failing unemployment claims application system that crashed constantly for weeks and led to thousands of people to line up for paper copies of applications. Last week the Florida Department of Employment Opportunity logged more than 3.8 million calls.
On Wednesday the Florida Department of Employment Opportunity launched a new website to help people apply.
The applicants are seeking up to $275 in state unemployment compensation and an additional $600 in federal benefits provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, which Congress approved last month.
Despite the collapse of Florida’s vital tourism and hospitality industries, the Sunshine State continues to lag other states in total unemployment claims. Last week, California saw 925,000 claims; Georgia, 388,000; Michigan, 384,000; New York, 345,000; Texas, 314,000; Pennsylvania, 283,000; Ohio, 224,000; New Jersey, 213,000; Illinois, 200,000; and Washington, 176,000.
“In the week ending April 4, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 6,606,000, a decrease of 261,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 219,000 from 6,648,000 to 6,867,000,” the U.S. Department of Labor stated in a news release issued Thursday morning.
This story originally appeared in Florida Politics.
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