New applications for unemployment assistance in Florida hit a new pandemic low last week, the Department of Labor reported Thursday, amid mixed signals about the state of the economy.
For the week ending Sept. 26, new jobless claims in Florida fell from 39,028 to 29,360. New claims had unexpectedly climbed in the state the week before.
The number of unemployed filing for unemployment for at least two consecutive weeks in Florida also fell, the Department said Thursday — from 374,181 to 317,726.
Thursday’s release does not reflect Gov. Ron DeSantis’ order last week to reopen the state.
For the the U.S., claims fell by 36,000 to 837,000.
All levels are still well above pre-pandemic figures, showing the economy still has a long road to recovery. The Department of Labor also reported Thursday that the number of Florida workers collecting Pandemic Unemployment Assistance — designed to help workers, like Uber drivers, ineligible for regular assistance — climbed from 9,789 to 19,734 on the week.
Economists remain uncertain about how quickly the economy is rebounding. This week, a group that publishes a monthly consumer confidence index said the index had hit its highest level since March in September.
But not everyone is convinced that the recovery is on solid footing.
“We’re getting past the phase where we’re rebounding from the shutdown,” Ethan Harris, Bank of America Corp.’s head of global economic research, said on Bloomberg Television. “Now we’re more into the grinding forward phase.”
This week, Disney announced it would be cutting 28,000 jobs, many of them located in Florida. The company has already filed Worker Adjustment and Retraining notices saying nearly 7,000 workers would soon be affected. In addition, American Airlines, the largest air carrier in Miami, announced it would be furloughing 32,000 workers with no new federal aid in sight.
According to the most recent Census weekly household survey, 26.8% of Florida households said they were still expecting loss in employment income, down from 31.8% the previous week. In the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach metro area, the rate was 35.9%, down from 39.3% the week prior.
Despite the declines, both levels remain among the highest in the nation.