By Team

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – Marking a pandemic low, the U.S. Department of Labor estimated 15,903 first-time unemployment claims were filed last week in Florida.

The estimate for the week that ended Feb. 27 was down 2,727 from a revised count of 18,630 for the week ending Feb. 20. The number for the week ending Feb. 20 had initially been projected at 16,100 claims.

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Over the past four weeks, the state has averaged 19,452 claims, down from 50,442 the previous four weeks. Florida’s drop came as the Department of Labor estimated 745,000 first-time unemployment claims were filed nationally last week.

The national estimate was an increase of 9,000 from a revised estimate for the week ending Feb. 20. Last week’s estimate for Florida was the lowest since the week ending March 14, 2020, when 6,463 claims came in before the COVID-19 pandemic forced widespread business shutdowns.

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The state started to become overwhelmed with claims the following week last March, with 74,313 filed. The weekly peak came April 18, when 506,670 claims were submitted.

Since March 15, 2020, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has handled more than 5.19 million claims, which have resulted in nearly 2.3 million claimants receiving more than $22.8 billion in state and federal assistance.

Florida’s unemployment rate in December stood at 6.1 percent, with a January rate slated to be released March 15.

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