Florida’s first-time unemployment claims remained flat last week as the state’s economy continued to operate largely unimpeded by COVID-19 restrictions.
The 23,982 claims for the week ended Nov. 21 eased slightly by 376 from the week before. In recent weeks, Florida has been reporting fewer layoffs in the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, construction, manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade and service industries.
That’s largely because the state’s economy has been operating free of restrictions previously imposed by the administration of Gov. Ron DeSantis due to the coronavirus. But those curbs melted away after the governor ordered the economy reopened and barred local governments from enforcing measures to deflect the virus.
Nationally, the U.S. Department of Labor on Wednesday reported another round of increases in claims. The agency said that for a second straight week, claims rose, this time by 30,000 to 778,000 from the week’s previous seasonally adjusted level of 748,000.
The increases were driven by several states responding to surges in COVID-19 with lockdowns or other restrictions on business activity. They included Illinois, Michigan, New Mexico and Washington.
“New claims for unemployment benefits are moving up, moving in the wrong direction much the same as the pandemic is raging in the final weeks of a heartbreaking year,” said Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate.
“With new pandemic restrictions on behavior either mandated by governments or initiated by individuals themselves, downside risks for the economy have only grown,” he added.