Unemployed Floridians in the state of Florida are denied by the Department of Economic Opportunity under the CARES Act due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Miami, Florida, USA on May 1, 2020. Photo and Caption: Blueee77/Shutterstock.com
Despite all the wonder and beauty Florida has to offer, it is not without its faults. Indeed, it is far from a perfect state with a perfect government. But what state does have a perfect government? That doesn’t stop Florida from being the state with one of the worst recovering unemployment claim rates in the country. This is all no thanks to the lay-offs and unemployment due to the ongoing novel coronavirus.
Personal finance company WalletHub.com released a report about June job growth. WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on different factors: change in each state’s unemployment rate during the latest month for which data was able to be acquired (June 2020) compared to June 2019 and January 2020. Then WalletHub also compared not seasonally adjusted continued claims in June 2020 to June 2019. Finally, each state’s overall unemployment rate was considered thereafter.
Currently, the U.S. unemployment rate sits at 11.1%, which is still high but is a decline from the nearly historic high of 14.7% at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. This drop can be attributed to the fact that all U.S. states have reopened at least some non-essential businesses. In addition, most people who became unemployed during this crisis have only been temporarily laid off, and expect to be rehired by their former employers once companies reopen and start to make money again.
Even before the virus upended the lives of hundreds of thousands of Floridians — a number economists predict could swell to more than 1 million — the state’s unemployment system was plagued with problems. Soon after the online unemployment portal launched in October 2013, system crashes prevented people from claiming benefits. Some couldn’t log in to access the portal — a common complaint in the ongoing problems. One state audit had identified numerous system failures, and a subsequent audit issued shortly after DeSantis assumed office last year said many of those deficiencies weren’t fixed.
In May, first-time unemployment benefits claims in the U.S. reached 3.84 million and surpassed the 3.5 million that economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting.Roughly 30.3 million Americans had lost their jobs since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March.
Florida and Georgia were the states with the worst rankings in both categories; Florida was the least recovered state from last week and Georgia the least recovered since the beginning of the pandemic. In unemployment insurance initial claims since the beginning of the pandemic as compared to last year, Georgia has seen a 3,718 percent increase. Florida has seen an increase of 1,578 percent last week as compared to 2019.
Tallahassee ranked among the cities with the lowest increase of unemployment due to coronavirus. Orlando is another major tourism hub turned upside down by COVID-19. The Walt Disney World Resort furloughed 70,000 of its workers in April, while Universal Studios furloughed 27,000 workers. It just reopened back up but will only do so under phased guidelines.