Florida’s first-time unemployment claims decreased to 33,821 for the week ended Sept. 12 — now that local economies are gradually regaining momentum under Phase 2 reopenings from COVID-19.
The state numbers were shown to have declined by 6,435 from an adjusted 40,256 initial claims filed in the previous week.
Nationally, the figure for initial claims was 860,000, a decline of 33,000 from the week ended Sept. 5, the U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday.
“Key states including California, Texas, Florida, New York and New Jersey saw welcome weekly declines,” said Mark Hamrick, senior economics analyst at Bankrate.
“Some of the key pain points for the economy remain as before including small business, airlines, bars and restaurants and retailers," he added. "At the same time, interest rate-sensitive sectors including housing fare relatively well. Builder sentiment just notched a record high as just one positive sign for the housing market.”
The employment market continues to gradually add back jobs since mid-March, but the pace of recovery remains slow. As of the end of July, there were 6.6 million openings nationwide for 16.3 million unemployed, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
On Friday, the state Department of Economic Opportunity will disclose the August unemployment figure for Florida and discuss job gains and losses by industry for the month. In July, the jobless rate rose to 11.3% from June’s level of 10.4%.
Tourism industry furloughs, layoffs continue
Major Florida resorts and attractions continued to extend furloughs or lay off employees as visitor traffic failed to justify keeping full complements of workers on payrolls, according to employer filings.
The Trump National Resort in Doral informed the state that 88 workers who had been off the job since March would remain on the sidelines for up to another six months due to the continued impact of COVID-19.
In Hollywood, 303 people at Margaritaville Beach Resort are likely to see their furloughs extended by six months, management said in a state filing.
In Orlando, SeaWorld of Florida said 1,896 people on furlough are being permanently laid off, while Universal Orlando could extend furloughs of 5,389 workers who were sidelined at varying times during the summer.
Rental car giant Avis Budget is extending furloughs at various locations around the state including the Fort Lauderdale and Miami areas, where more than 50 people full-time and part-time workers are being affected, according to state filings.
Another 160 people are being sidelined elsewhere in Florida including Fort Myers, Sarasota, Panama City, Pensacola, Tampa and Tallahassee.
Final federal checks go out this week.
Meanwhile, the state remained silent on why it cut off the $300-per-week jobless supplement at four weeks even though the Federal Emergency Management Agency in Washington said it would provide six weeks of benefits in a program authorized by President Donald Trump.
Democrats accused of Gov. Ron DeSantis of "backing out of Donald Trump’s weak plan to boost unemployment assistance after just four weeks while hundreds of thousands of Floridians remain out of work due to the coronavirus pandemic.”
The fourth and final payment from the federal Lost Wages Assistance program to eligible Floridians should land in bank accounts “sometime this week,” the DEO said Wednesday. The four payments were for the weeks ended Aug. 1, 8, 15 and 22.
Since mid-March, the DEO has sent more than $16 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits to 1.975 million people. More than $11.5 billion has come from Washington, including money from the program authorized by Trump.
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