ORLANDO, Fla. — The coronavirus pandemic has been going on for more than seven months.
Florida is slowly recovering after job losses hit the state especially hard.
This week, Florida claimed the top spot for a metric no one wants to win: unemployment.
Nearly 10,000 Floridians filed new unemployment claims this week. This came as new filings nationwide outpaced expectations by 7%.
That’s on top of the job losses that are already impacting the state.
What we know is that families are struggling, and more and more families are starting to identify with that struggle.
The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending Oct. 3 were in Florida with 9,933, Illinois with 6,877 and Massachusetts with 4,021.
“Our economic system here, our ecosystem, is one that is dependent also on tourism, that makes us somewhat vulnerable,” said Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings.
As the tourism industry has collapsed, other local industries are struggling as well.
That’s particularly true in Central Florida, where unemployment has been the highest in the state.
According to state records, of the entire labor force, 33% in Orange County and 44% in Osceola County have had to file for unemployment at some point since March.
“There is a possibility that we will see an increase in the number of families that become homeless in Central Florida, we want to avoid all costs if we can,” Demings said.
Orange County is trying to provide more help since more residents need it.
“We had said that we anticipated 10,000 persons would be allowed to enter into the portal, but we’re increasing that number to 15,000,” Demings said.
When the county’s CARES Act portal reopens Oct. 24, 5,000 more households will be able to receive $1,000 each.
“Any dollars that we can put directly into their hands, I believe goes a long way to help fill the gap between the part that they get other systems, they become reemployed,” Demings said.
Demings knows there aren’t many options for reemployment right now for lower-skilled, lower-wage workers. He added, “There are some jobs in the manufacturing sector, for example, which are going unfilled.”
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