By CBSMiami.com Team

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – First-time unemployment claims continue to increase in Florida, with more than 71,000 new applications coming in last week.

The 13 percent increase from a revised count for the prior week would be the highest total for a single week since mid-August, when the state was still in the second phase of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ effort to reopen the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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From mid-November until the first week of January, the state averaged just under 27,000 new claims a week. During the week that ended January 16th, Florida had 39,226 claims, with the total growing to 62,818 during the week that ended January 23rd.

The U.S. Department of Labor initially estimated 57,824 claims during the week that ended January 23rd but revised the number Thursday. The 71,046 claims were in the week that ended January 30th.

As of Tuesday, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity had paid $21.5 billion in state and federal unemployment benefits to 2.22 million claimants since the pandemic slammed the state in mid-March.

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The state had a 6.1 percent unemployment rate in December, reflecting 614,000 Floridians qualified as being out of work from a workforce of more than 10.14 million. A January report is scheduled to be released on March 15th.

Florida’s increase in weekly claims came as 779,000 new applications were filed last week nationally, down 33,000 from the prior week. Over the past month, the nation has averaged 848,250 new claims a week.

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CBSMiami.com Team