Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Business

Florida ends 2020 with tens of thousands receiving unemployment assistance

Nearly 2.2 million, or one out of every five Florida workers, has received unemployment benefits during the pandemic-inspired economic crisis.
A small group of demonstrators gathers at Orlando's Lake Eola Park on June 10 to protest the Florida unemployment benefits system. Many Florida unemployed workers struggled to apply for and receive unemployment benefits at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
A small group of demonstrators gathers at Orlando's Lake Eola Park on June 10 to protest the Florida unemployment benefits system. Many Florida unemployed workers struggled to apply for and receive unemployment benefits at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. [ John Raoux | AP ]
Published Jan. 3

At least 168,000 Florida workers were still receiving unemployment assistance as 2020 came to a close, data released Thursday show — a measure of the extreme economic toll the pandemic continues to produce.

By comparison, just 36,000 workers were receiving benefits this same time last year.

For the week that ended Dec. 26, the U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday, Florida saw 23,053 new claims for regular jobless benefits and 17,006 new claims for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), the program for workers, like Uber drivers, not eligible for regular state unemployment. Another 125,325 workers were already receiving benefits heading into that week.

At least 168,000 Florida workers were still receiving unemployment assistance as 2020 came to a close, data released Thursday show — a measure of the extreme economic toll the pandemic continues to produce.

By comparison, just 36,000 workers were receiving benefits this same time last year.

For the week that ended Dec. 26, the U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday, Florida saw 23,053 new claims for regular jobless benefits and 17,006 new claims for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), the program for workers, like Uber drivers, not eligible for regular state unemployment. Another 125,325 workers were already receiving benefits heading into that week.

Year-end statistics show nearly 2.2 million individuals, or approximately one out of every five Florida workers, has received unemployment benefits during the pandemic.

On Sunday, President Donald Trump signed a bill that will see unemployment filers gain an additional $300 in federal assistance. The bill also extends the PUA and PEUC programs until at least March. And it set up a new program, Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation assistance, that provides an additional $100 for workers, like gig workers, who may have received both 1099 and W-2 work forms from employers.

On Tuesday, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity said it was awaiting guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor before it would make the changes laid out in the new congressional bill.

In a note to clients Dec. 23, Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at research group Pantheon Macroeconomics, said the labor market has continued to deteriorate heading into the end of the year as coronavirus cases continue to surge.

“We hope [consumer] spending will stabilize in January and then begin to creep higher in February, but the current picture is quite bleak,” he said.