Florida continues to see first-time unemployment claims at a pace similar to before the COVID-19 pandemic slammed into the state’s economy.
The U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday released a report that estimated 5,734 new unemployment applications were filed in Florida last week. That was down from a revised count of 5,925 claims during the week that ended Feb. 5 and lowered a four-week average of claims to 6,421.
The state has averaged 7,201 claims a week since mid-May, when Florida leaders ramped up efforts to push people back into the workforce during the pandemic. The number of claims nationally went up by 23,000 last week to 248,000. State and federal agencies mark March 15, 2020, as the start of the pandemic for unemployment purposes.
During the four weeks before that, Florida averaged 5,376 weekly claims. Unemployment figures released last month showed the state had regained 92.1 percent of the 1.27 million jobs lost in the early stages of the pandemic.
Florida’s unemployment rate in December stood at 4.4 percent, representing an estimated 466,000 Floridians qualifying as jobless from a workforce of 10.66 million. A January report will be released March 14.