TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Another 221,000 Floridians filed for unemployment benefits last week, even as restaurants and retail shops started re-opening with limitations for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic forced the shuttering of businesses around the state, according to figures released Thursday.
The U.S. Department of Labor reported that 221,905 new jobless claims were filed in Florida last week, up a quarter from the 174,860 claims filed the previous week.
Florida’s unemployment system has been widely criticized for its difficulty in filing claims and also for delays in getting payments, so it’s hard to determine if weekly fluctuations are due to actual new cases are those cases that have finally been accepted, critics say.
There were more than 433,000 new claims in the last week of April, and more than a half-million new claims in the week before that.
Nationwide, nearly 3 million laid-off workers applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week.
Restaurants and retails shops in Florida started opening last week after Gov. Ron DeSantis started loosening some restrictions under his month-old stay-at-home order. Restaurants and retails shops can operate indoors at only 25% capacity.
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