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Florida sees rise in unemployment numbers

Published: Aug. 21, 2020 at 6:44 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -

The latest jobs report released Friday brought some bad news. 

After unemployment dropped in June, the state saw its unemployment rate increase by 1.2% in July. 

The latest uptick comes as the state continues seeing unprecedented unemployment claims.

At 11.3%Florida’s unemployment rate is once again above national average. 

While the state added almost 78,000 jobs, 122,000 were added to the pool of unemployed.

“This is an unprecedented level of joblessness,” said Adrienne Johnston, Chief Economist at the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

And there seems to be little sign of slowing down. 

More than 212,000 new unemployment claims have been filed since the start of August. 

“Even when you go back and look during the last recession, we had a significant number of claims. It was at that time unprecedented, but it was over a much longer period of time,” said Johnston.

The state has identified 2.9 million unique claims and paid $14 billion to nearly 2 million people.

Florida Democrats aren’t satisfied with that progress.

“We have hundreds of thousands of Floridians who filed jobless claims since mid-March and have yet to receive benefits,” said State Senator Lori Berman.

Florida has indicated it won’t take the federal unemployment extension offered by the President, which requires the state to pick up one fourth of the cost.

Democrats disapprove of the President’s plan, but said if Congress approves something similar, the state should opt in.

“I think our state needs to go ahead and provide that match because the alternative is simply unacceptable,” said State Senator Gary Farmer.

And Democrats continue to implore the Governor to call special session to address the unemployment issue, but the Governor has made it clear that won’t be on the table until after the November election.

According to DEO’s latest report most metro areas added jobs in July. 

Construction, information and manufacturing were industries that saw the largest job losses.

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