Florida unemployment rate is up to 12.9%

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) --
Florida's unemployment numbers for the month of April are out and as expected they're higher than normal.

PHOTO: Unemployment claim form, Photo Date: April 2014 (Source: MGN Photo - Julie Chasen / MGN)

Here's what people who work to help others find a job are saying about the numbers.

The unemployment numbers for North Central Florida counties according to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity are as follows. Marion County is at 12.1 percent, Levy at 11 percent, Columbia at 9.6 percent, Alachua at 9 percent, Bradford and Suwannee both at 8.5 percent Gilchrist at 8.2 percent and Dixie at 7.9 percent.

Rusty Skinner is the interim CEO of NCFL's career source who said, "I wasn't really surprised honestly we expected COVID would have a significant effect."
But for North Central Florida those numbers aren't as drastic as some expected.
Skinner explained, "I think in some aspects some people had been estimating much larger than that. We may see some growth next month and what we're witnessing here in April's numbers in both areas is the initial surge in unemployment that occurred that jammed the system at the state level."

TV20's Landon Harrar reported, "along with the rise of unemployment is a 156 percent rise in people applying for food stamps in Alachua and Bradford County and much higher in Marion County.
Skinner added, "that number for food stamps has jumped up over 1186 percent and we've had an 89 percent jump in welfare applications."

Still, Skinner says there are jobs available and you should not be discouraged but instead set up an appointment for help at Career Source centers but he also says he doesn't see a sharp decline in these numbers in the near future. "If everything goes as is hoped with the governor's re-opening plan then I think we'll see some change in August. It's not going to be a quick fix, everybody wants to get back and get to work but I don't see that being a quick fix. I'd be very surprised if I saw a real precipitous drop in the numbers anytime soon."

Additionally the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity says the jobless rates for the state hit 12.9% in April, 2020. This is part of their monthly jobs report.

The previous month's unemployment rate was 4.4%.

The significant jump comes from businesses shutting or slowing down due to the COVID 19 pandemic, according to the numbers in the report.

The national rate currently sits at 14.7%.