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Jobless claims tick up in Florida


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Unemployment claims in Florida increased slightly last week but remained similar to levels before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday estimated 6,671 first-time unemployment claims were filed during the week that ended Oct. 16, up from a revised count of 6,215 for the week ending Oct. 9. The department initially estimated 5,535 claims were filed during the Oct. 9 week.

The number of national unemployment claims decreased slightly from 296,000 during the week that ended Oct. 9 to 290,000 last week. The department this month reported that U.S. employers added 194,000 jobs in September, with companies, primarily in the service industries, struggling to fill job openings.

The national unemployment rate dropped from 5.2% to 4.8%, in part because about 180,000 fewer people were looking for work in September than in August. Florida’s unemployment rate, which will be updated on Friday, stood at 5.0% in August. That represented 529,000 Floridians qualifying as unemployed from a workforce of 10.54 million in mid-August.

Over the past four weeks, the weekly national average of new claims is 319,750. Florida’s weekly average for the past four weeks is 6,912.

Since mid-May, the state has averaged 7,824 claims a week.