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Thursday, April 30, 2020

Florida had the biggest increase in unemployment due to COVID-19, says new data

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2020 at 2:00 PM

click to enlarge Florida's online-only unemployment system is literally the worst one in the country. - PHOTO VIA ADOBE STOCK
  • Photo via Adobe Stock
  • Florida's online-only unemployment system is literally the worst one in the country.
As Florida suffers through record unemployment due to the coronavirus shutdown, a new study says the Sunshine State has in fact experienced the nation's largest increase in job losses due to the pandemic.

New data released by the U.S. Department of Labor Thursday morning shows Florida is the No. 1 state experiencing unemployment effects due to the virus. Our northern neighbor Georgia comes in at a close second.

So far, 30.3 million Americans have reported the loss of work, one in six, amid the nation's worst layoffs.
Economic research site WalletHub created rankings using the new data, comparing unemployment insurance claims filed between March 16 and April 20 of this year, with the same time period ending April 22 of last year. They also compared the current jobless numbers to those at the beginning of this year, when Florida had relatively low unemployment.

Florida topped two lists in their study, with a 7,230 percent increase in unemployment claims compared to last year, and a 9,265 percent increase from last January 1. Florida has also experienced a 4,521 percent increase in unemployment claims since March 16, the day after the COVID-19 shutdowns began, placing us fifth nationally in that one figure.

This comes, of course, as rampant reports document how Florida's unemployment system is literally the worst one in the country, with Department of Labor data showing Florida dead-last in the percentage of unemployed claims it had processed, serving just 1.1 percent of its workforce between mid-March until early April.
  • Screenshot via WalletHub
On April 20, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity released a new online dashboard, updated daily, reflecting the number of reemployment assistance claims submitted, verified, processed, and paid. As of Thursday, the site reports 2,030,958 unemployment claims have been submitted, with 416,683 paid, or 20.5 percent.

Economists predict the national unemployment rate for April could go as high as 20 percent, which would be the highest rate since the Great Depression, when it reached 25 percent.

The situation in Orlando could be especially long-lasting, as WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez noted that businesses "with a much less consistent cash flow during the crisis, such as travel, tourism and recreation," will take much longer for their unemployment rates to go down.

The study recommends states "aggressively focus on helping the companies in the most need," adding, "states can use a more targeted approach to divert resources to the companies affected the most, thus having maximum impact for the money spent."

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