Florida jobless claims down, but economic ‘fog’ continues

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – First-time unemployment claims were down slightly in Florida last week, as more businesses announce layoffs and extensions of worker furloughs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The U.S. Department of Labor estimated 35,829 first-time jobless claims were filed in Florida during the week that ended Sept. 19, down from 37,265 the prior week. Nationally, 870,000 initial claims were filed last week, close to the four-week average of 878,250.

The state numbers are well off a peak in April when more than 900,000 claims were filed during a two-week period as businesses shut down or dramatically scaled back to prevent the spread of the virus.

Florida last week also announced its unemployment rate dropped from 11.4 percent in mid-July to 7.4 percent in mid-August. The August rate reflected an estimated 753,000 Floridians out of work.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday it appears that while stock markets have “shrugged” off the

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