The good and the bad of the jobless report

Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 3:26 PM CDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) - New unemployment numbers released today show 20 of 24 metro areas in the state gained jobs during September, even as the jobless rate climbed 0.3 percent.

The state’s high unemployment will result in more benefits for the unemployed, but not until after the first of the year.

770,000 people remained unemployed in September. Businesses added 36,000 more jobs and government another 11,0000.

“This figure is down 456,000 jobs from a year ago. This represents an over the year decline of 5.1 percent,” said DEO Economist Adrienne Johnston. Eight out of 10 industries gained jobs. Only other services and construction declined.

“Hiring began to rebound in May with 359,000 hires,” said Johnston.

The jobless survey was conduced Sept. 12, so that means it didn’t capture hotel and theme park layoffs that have been announced since then.

“I’m certain it’s going to go back up again. There’s way too many folks who have been laid off and furloughed, both,” said State Senator Linda Stewart. Under state law, the average unemployment for July, August, and September are used to calculate how many weeks of benefits the state will pay.

Florida will go from paying just 12 to a total of 19 weeks.

“The new duration of benefits will go into effect on January one,” said Johnston. But benefits are likely to be the most hotly contested issue when lawmakers meet in March.

“If we don’t end COVID, people won’t go or be asked to go back to work, and people won’t visit the parks,” said Stewart.

Florida’s unemployment rate remains 0.3 percent below the national average.

The number of increased weeks for benefits is subject to change based on any revisions to the September data.

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