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Florida sees 60 percent drop in new unemployment claims

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Drivers pass a sign outside the Kimmins Contracting Corp. in Tampa, Fla. Chris O'Meara / AP

By Jason Schaumburg | The Center Square

    Initial unemployment claims for the week ending May 2 dropped significantly in Florida, but more than 1.1 million unique claims have been filed since mid-March.

According to data released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor, initial unemployment claims in Florida last week were 173,191, down 259,912 – or 60 percent – from the 433,103 claims filed the previous week.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s Reemployment Assistance Claims dashboard reported Thursday morning that 769,843 of 1.115 million – or 69 percent – of “confirmed unique” claims filed since March 15 had been processed through Tuesday, with 481,497 – or 43.2 percent – having been paid, totaling $1.017 billion.

DEO’s dashboard showed nearly 1.83 million total claims have been filed, but notes that number includes applications from “individuals (who) may have submitted an application through multiple methods” and “include duplicate or triplicate claim counts.”

Of the 769,843 “confirmed unique” claims, 481,497 qualified for state unemployment insurance, and 293,433 did not, but were processed by DEO for federal unemployment assistance under the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

According to DEO, of the $1.017 billion paid in jobless assistance to Floridians through Tuesday, $315 million had been paid in state claims and $702.4 million in federal unemployment compensation.

On April 23, DEO reported it had processed 193,405 of 679,179 “unique” claims, with about 16 percent – or 108,216 – being paid. Over the last two weeks, however, which included back-to-back weekend site shutdowns to process backlogs, DEO has processed more than 576,000 applications and paid more than 373,000 claims.

Some Floridians returned to work this week when phase one of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ reopening plan started Monday.

Nationally, 3.17 million Americans filed for new unemployment benefits for the week ending May 2 – down 677,000 from the previous week’s revised level but well above the numbers seen before the coronavirus outbreak led to the shutdown of most of the national economy.

The Center Square contributor John Haughey contributed to this report.

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