Featured Stories

Jobless Claims Soar as Florida’s Reopening Continues

More than 200,000 new unemployment claims were filed last week in Florida, as most of the state prepares to move to the second phase of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ plan to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday reported 1.88 million first-time unemployment claims nationally during the week that ended May 30, representing a drop of 249,000 from the previous week. The agency also estimated 206,494 new claims in Florida, an increase of 31,083 from the prior week.

Only California had more claims, with 230,461. That is a drop of 27,199 from the prior week.

Gov. DeSantis announced earlier this week that the second phase of reopening will start Friday. It includes allowing bars, movie theaters and other entertainment venues to partially operate in all but Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

Florida’s unemployment rate rose to 12.9 percent in April. The state will release its May jobless report on June 19. Nationally, more than 42.6 million claims have been filed since mid-March.

DeSantis also said the state Department of Economic Opportunity is continuing to work with people who are having issues with the online unemployment system. ”

“We’ve worked really hard at it,” he explained. “It’s important to people, to get thrown out of a job just on the drop of a hat because of this mitigation is not easy, particularly for people who are making lower incomes, they don’t exactly have stashes of money in the bank.”

So far, the Department of Economic Opportunity has paid out about $4.1 billion in benefits, of which $1.2 million was from the state.