DeSantis calls unemployment benefits 'fine' in response to proposed increase

Gov. Ron DeSantis called the state's unemployment benefits "fine" in response to a question about a bill that would raise the weekly benefits. 

In a press conference Friday, a reporter asked about a bipartisan Senate proposal that would increase the maximum state unemployment benefits from $275 a week to $375 a week. 

"Our unemployment is what it is. It’s fine," said Gov. DeSantis. "Increase benefits? Look no. I think we’re getting people back to work. You see or hear these stories about businesses need more." 

Gov. DeSantis stressed that he wants people back on Florida's workforce, instead of increasing benefits. 

"Our goal is to get people back to work, I think there’s a lot of demand right now," said Gov. DeSantis. "I would like to get that unemployment rate below 4% if we can." 

A mother of four, Alexandria Bilbao is unemployed and says she's having trouble finding a job where she can work from home. 

"I do think an increase in $100 could make a difference in someone’s life," said Bilbao. 

She would like weekly unemployment benefits raised, as she says many families are still dealing with the ramifications of the pandemic. 

"This could be the difference of having food, or hygienic products to make sure they’re staying safe, buying masks," said Bilbao. 

Florida's latest unemployment rate in March was at 4.7%. In March of 2020, when the pandemic started, it was at 4.9%. 

DeSantis is hopeful there are enough jobs out there. He's been pushing for cruises to come back to Florida and believes when they're back in business it will bring thousands of jobs. 

"There is demand in the economy and that’s a good thing," said DeSantis. "Much different than it was a year ago."