Florida announces withdrawal from federal pandemic unemployment benefits program effective June 26

Help Wanted sign – Courtesy: Shutterstock – Image by Andriy Blokhin

After months of participation in the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program, Florida has officially announced it is withdrawing from the program effective June 26, 2021.

Florida has been fortunate enough to rebound in a considerably quick fashion from the pandemic unemployment lows of 2020 and early 2021. 

But despite the quick recovery, Florida businesses have voiced their frustration in finding workers amid the rebound, with some encouraging new employees with signing bonuses.

On Monday, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity announced its decision to withdraw from the federal program that has granted unemployed individuals in the state to collect weekly checks throughout the pandemic.

Courtesy: FLDEO Twitter

The FDEO backed its decision as part of the DEO’s “Return to Work” initiative and says it will be “another key step to returning more Floridians to work, following April’s labor statistics which show total private-sector employment increased by 18,800 jobs and more than 460,000 online job postings available throughout the state for job seekers.”

Many businesses throughout the state, including the service industry, have struggled to hire workers post-pandemic shutdown restrictions in the state despite growing vaccination rates, and many believe it’s because the state is still participating in the program. 

“Thanks to Governor DeSantis’ leadership, Florida’s economy has bounced back tremendously with over 460,000 jobs available throughout our state and the strongest economic conditions in the nation,” said Dane Eagle, Secretary of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. “Florida’s employers are also seeing employment growth, as more Floridians, including some who completely left the workforce, are now eagerly reentering the workforce. Transitioning away from this benefit will help meet the demands of small and large businesses who are ready to hire and expand their workforce.”

Despite withdrawing from the federal program, Florida will continue to hand out Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), and Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) benefits in the meantime “as DEO continues to carefully monitor job posting and industry hiring trends.”

The additional federal benefits programs highlighted above are expected to expire on September 6, 2021, per the Department of Economic Opportunity.  

During the height of the pandemic, Florida experienced unemployment rates as high as 14.5 percent; the most recent DEO data shows the state is hovering just below 5 percent. 

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