TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - First-time unemployment claims in Florida fell below 100,000 last week, as the state has recorded more than 3.3 million jobless claims since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March.
The U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday estimated Florida accounted for 87,062 of the 1.43 million claims filed nationally during the week that ended July 25. The Florida number was down from 108,976 a week earlier.
Only California had more first-time claims last week with an estimated 249,007, which was down more than 40,000 from the prior week.
The federal estimates came after the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity announced Wednesday that Gov. Ron DeSantis extended to Sept. 5 the waiver of a work search requirement for people seeking unemployment benefits. The requirement ordinarily calls for people to apply for five jobs during each of the 12 weeks they are eligible for state unemployment payments of up to $275.
Meanwhile, Congress continues to debate another round of economic stimulus, with Republicans and Democrats differing on whether to extend $600 a week in federal unemployment benefits. Republicans are pushing to lower the weekly payments. Since March 15, Florida has processed nearly 3.09 million unemployment claims.
Of the 1.8 million claims that have resulted in benefits being paid, the state has distributed $12 billion in state and federal benefits, of which $2.63 billion was state money.
Florida’s unemployment rate in June was 10.4 percent, and the July rate will be released on Aug. 21.
The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.