TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – First-time unemployment claims in Florida nearly doubled last week as coronavirus cases spiked and as bars and nightclubs continued to be largely shut down. The U.S. Department of Labor issued a report Thursday that estimated 129,408 first-time jobless claims were filed in the state during the week that ended July 11. That was up from 66,941 claims during the week that ended July 4. Nationally, 1.3 million initial claims were filed last week, with an average of 1.375 million claims over the past four weeks.
The new U.S. Department of Labor numbers won’t be reflected when the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity releases an unemployment report Friday. The report will offer estimates about Florida’s workforce in June, when most of the state began Gov. Ron DeSantis’s second phase of reopening after large parts of the economy were shut down or scaled back this spring because of the pandemic.
Florida saw its unemployment rate go from 13.8 percent in April to 14.5 percent in May, representing 1.4 million Floridians out of work. Since March 15, more than 3 million unemployment applications have been filed in Florida, with about 2.88 million considered “unique.” Of the unique claims, more than 2.62 million had been processed as of Tuesday, with 1.7 million claimants paid.
The state had distributed $10.13 billion in state and federal benefits, of which $2.36 billion was state money. Nationally, the unemployment rate was at 11.1 percent in June. The federal mark peaked at 14.7 percent in April and fell to 13.3 percent in May.