Florida had the biggest increase in unemployment due to COVID-19, says new data

by

comment
Florida's online-only unemployment system is literally the worst one in the country. - PHOTO VIA ADOBE STOCK
  • Photo via Adobe Stock
  • Florida's online-only unemployment system is literally the worst one in the country.
As Florida suffers through record unemployment due to the coronavirus shutdown, a new study says the Sunshine State has in fact experienced the nation's largest increase in job losses due to the pandemic.

New data released by the U.S. Department of Labor Thursday morning shows Florida is the No. 1 state experiencing unemployment effects due to the virus. Our northern neighbor Georgia comes in at a close second.



So far, 30.3 million Americans have reported the loss of work, one in six, amid the nation's worst layoffs.
Economic research site WalletHub created rankings using the new data, comparing unemployment insurance claims filed between March 16 and April 20 of this year, with the same time period ending April 22 of last year. They also compared the current jobless numbers to those at the beginning of this year, when Florida had relatively low unemployment.

Florida topped two lists in their study, with a 7,230 percent increase in unemployment claims compared to last year, and a 9,265 percent increase from last January 1. Florida has also experienced a 4,521 percent increase in unemployment claims since March 16, the day after the COVID-19 shutdowns began, placing us fifth nationally in that one figure.



This comes, of course, as rampant reports document how Florida's unemployment system is literally the worst one in the country, with Department of Labor data showing Florida dead-last in the percentage of unemployed claims it had processed, serving just 1.1 percent of its workforce between mid-March until early April.
SCREENSHOT VIA WALLETHUB
  • Screenshot via WalletHub
On April 20, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity released a new online dashboard, updated daily, reflecting the number of reemployment assistance claims submitted, verified, processed, and paid. As of Thursday, the site reports 2,030,958 unemployment claims have been submitted, with 416,683 paid, or 20.5 percent.

Economists predict the national unemployment rate for April could go as high as 20 percent, which would be the highest rate since the Great Depression, when it reached 25 percent.

The situation in Orlando could be especially long-lasting, as WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez noted that businesses "with a much less consistent cash flow during the crisis, such as travel, tourism and recreation," will take much longer for their unemployment rates to go down.

The study recommends states "aggressively focus on helping the companies in the most need," adding, "states can use a more targeted approach to divert resources to the companies affected the most, thus having maximum impact for the money spent."

_
Please follow CDC guidelines and Orange County advisories to stay safe, and please support this free publication. Our small but mighty team is working tirelessly to bring you news on how coronavirus is affecting Central Florida. Please consider making a one-time or monthly donation. Every little bit helps.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.