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Weekly jobless claims remain above 20,000 in Florida

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – First-time jobless claims in Florida lingered above the 20,000 mark for the eighth consecutive week, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

For the holiday-shortened week ending Jan. 2, new claims dropped by more than 5,000 from the previous week’s revised total of 26,533, which was initially reported at 23,053.

In reporting an estimated 21,441 new claims in Florida, the federal agency noted the state has seen fewer layoffs in construction, manufacturing, retail trade, and service industries.

The current pace is four times the weekly intake of new claims in the same pre-pandemic period a year ago, but is well below the peak of 506,670 claims hit during the week ending April 18.

The Department of Labor has estimated 4.27 million first-time claims have been filed in Florida since the start of the pandemic in mid-March.

The state Department of Economic Opportunity reports receiving 5.14 million claims since March 15, including many duplicates as the CONNECT reemployment system was overwhelmed amid a spike of applications in April.

Overall, 2.17 million claimants have drawn state or federal payments, collectively totaling $19.9 billion. The state’s cost has been $3.87 billion.