Unemployment claims skyrocket in Florida, as 5.8 million make claims nationwide

View of Brooklyn office of NYS Department of Labor as unemployment claims in USA soared to 3.3 million in week ended March 21 because of COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Florida accounted for 227,000 of the 5.8 million unemployment claims filed across the nation last week, according to information released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Nationally, the number of new claims jumped 99.4 percent from the prior week as many businesses across the country have closed or scaled back because of COVID-19, the highly contagious respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

“Nearly every state providing comments cited the COVID-19 virus,” a Labor Department news release said. “States continued to identify increases (in claims) related to the services industries broadly, again led by accommodation and food services. However, state comments indicated a wider impact across industries. Many states continued to cite the health care and social assistance, and manufacturing industries, while an increasing number of states identified the retail and wholesale trade and construction industries.”

When seasonally adjusted, the week-to-week initial claims skyrocketed to 6.65 million, a 98.9 percent jump from the prior week. The 227,000 new claims in Florida are not seasonally adjusted numbers.

Among other large states, California posted 878,727 initial claims, followed by Pennsylvania at 405,880, New York with 366,403, Michigan with 311,086, Texas at 275,597 and Ohio at 272,129. Most of those states issued stay-at-home orders in March, a move Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis made on Wednesday.

For Florida, the number of claims filed online for the week ending March 28 was up more than 200 percent from the prior week.

The Florida figures include more than 67,850 layoffs from the service, retail trade, manufacturing, wholesale trade, construction and agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting sectors, according to the Labor Department.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, which will release its March jobless estimate on April 16, had earlier in the week estimated the number of new claims last week at 222,054.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.