Florida jobless claims continue to slow

Envelopes from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Reemployment Assistance Program are shown, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, in Surfside, Fla. The number of a Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose last week to 778,000, evidence that the U.S. economy and job market remain under strain as coronavirus cases surge and colder weather heighten the risks. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida continues to see its lowest totals of first-time unemployment claims since the start of the coronavirus pandemic more than a year ago.

The U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday estimated 11,891 new claims were filed during the week that ended April 3.

That was down from a revised total of 15,716 new claims during the week that ended March 27.

The labor department initially estimated that 11,700 claims were filed during the week that ended March 27.

Nationally, an estimated 744,000 claims were filed last week, an increase of 16,000 from the prior week.

Over the past four weeks, the nation has averaged 723,750 new claims.

In Florida, the average over the past four weeks stands at 16,324.

Since March 15, 2020, the state Department of Economic Opportunity has paid just over $25 billion in state and federal unemployment assistance to more than 2.3 million claimants.

Florida recorded 6,463 jobless applications during the week that ended March 14, 2020, and the claims jumped to 74,313 the following week as the pandemic crashed into the state and caused businesses to close or scale back operations.