JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida led the nation in a drop in the number of new jobless claims filed last week compared to the previous week, according to federal labor figures released Thursday.
Some 55,106 Floridians filed for unemployment benefits last week, a decline of 23,180 claims from the previous week, the biggest drop of any state.
Last week, Florida had the third-highest number of claims after California and Georgia.
The new claims are still historically high because of unemployment caused by the new coronavirus. By comparison, at the same time in August 2019, there were 5,978 new jobless claims in Florida.
From a broken website to people not getting paid, there is no question Florida’s unemployment system was not ready for the influx of people who filed for unemployment over the last five months — a number that now totals nearly 3 million.
In April, more than 506,000 Floridians applied for benefits for the first time in just one week.
Florida’s claims peaked several weeks after other large states — likely because thousands of Floridians couldn’t apply — because of problems with the system.
Compare all that to last week when just over 55,000 people applied.
Experts say it means people are returning to work. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the nation added nearly 1.8 million jobs in July.
Nationally, the number of laid-off workers applying for unemployment aid fell below 1 million last week for the first time since the pandemic intensified five months ago. The Labor Department said applications fell to 963,000, the second straight drop, from 1.2 million the previous week.
And with the extra $600 in federal benefits expired, right now, anyone who files for unemployment in Florida can only receive up to $275 a week from the state.