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Florida sees fewer jobless claims, COVID-19 cases

FILE - In this, Wednesday, May 6, 2020 photo, a now hiring sign is displayed on a street corner in North Miami Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
FILE - In this, Wednesday, May 6, 2020 photo, a now hiring sign is displayed on a street corner in North Miami Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Florida's jobless claims dropped by more than a third last week from the previous week as officials also reported 139 new deaths from the coronavirus Thursday, bringing the state's overall total above 11,000.

The state has seen rates of new cases averaging below 3,500 a day in recent days — down from peaks averaging nearly 12,000 daily in mid-July. The positivity rate in testing has been just under 10% the past couple of days. Florida's daily average in reported deaths over the past week is 118, which is third in the nation behind Texas at 178 and California at 126.

The number of people being treated in Florida hospitals for COVID-19 has been declining since a peak of more than 9,500 on July 23. The number of patients in the late morning Thursday stood at 4,285, according to a state hospital census posted online.

The U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday that 45,723 Floridians applied for unemployment benefits last week, a drop from 72,774 new claims filed in the Sunshine State in the previous week.

The jobless claims have been see-sawing over the past several weeks between declines and gains, indicating volatility in the labor market during the pandemic. The Labor Department report said gains in jobless claims two weeks ago were attributed to layoffs in construction, manufacturing trade and service industries.

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Follow AP coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.