TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida will see its unemployment applications top 3 million this weekend.
As of Friday morning, 2,958,663 applications had been filed since March 15, 138,000 of them since July 1.
Interestingly, as Walt Disney World prepares to reopen this weekend, its home county of Osceola is showing the highest unemployment rate in the state at 37 percent.
Is is still the No. 1 problem State Rep. Anna Eskamani hears about from constituents.
“It’s like non-stop to this moment,” Eskamani said. “My phone...I had a Miami woman crying this morning. I mean, it’s just so bad. So bad.”
During the first nine days of July, Florida saw over 172,000 unique unemployment claims. Up to 29,000 are people who filed, went back to work and are now re-filing.
“Every week we’re finding large corporations furloughing or just plain laying off people,” State Sen. Linda Stewart said.
Stewart worries more furloughs will turn into layoffs.
“We’re not going to be able to get everybody back to business and doing what we would like to see, even if it’s half of what we were doing before until we get the virus under control,” Stewart said.
On Thursday, Gov. Ron DeSantis and US Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia made it clear that opening schools this fall isn’t just about learning gaps but unemployment as well.
“We can’t just leave society sitting on the mat,” DeSantis said.
Scalia hopes opening schools will give people a place to send their kids, so they can go back to work.
“If we don’t get our schools open, it will be that much harder for working adult women who are facing a higher unemployment rate to get back to work,” he said.
Many will exhaust all of their unemployment benefits at the end of July, raising the question: what’s next?
Unless Congress acts before the end of July, unemployment benefits will run out for thousands of Floridians.