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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – Florida’s first-time unemployment claims continue to roll in near pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels, with the U.S. Department of Labor estimating Wednesday that 5,818 claims were filed last week in the state.

The estimate for the week that ended Nov. 6 was down from a revised count of 6,502 claims in the week ending Oct. 30.

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The initial projection for that week was 5,958. An estimated 267,000 new claims were filed nationally last week, down 4,000 from the prior week.

That was the lowest number for a week since before March 15, 2020, which is when the pandemic began causing massive job losses.

Over the past four weeks, the national average is 278,000 new claims a week. On Friday, the Labor Department reported the U.S. added 531,000 jobs in October, with the unemployment rate dropping 0.2 percentage points to 4.6 percent.

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The numbers were seen as a rebound for the labor market after a summer surge of COVID-19 cases linked to the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus.

Analysts had expected the nation to gain about 450,000 jobs in October, with the unemployment rate falling to 4.7 percent.

Since mid-May, when state leaders upped efforts to push people back into the workforce during the pandemic, Florida has averaged 7,762 weekly claims. In the four weeks before mid-March 2020, the weekly average of new claims in Florida was 5,376.

Florida had a 4.9 percent unemployment rate in September, reflecting 517,000 Floridians out of work from a labor force of 10.59 million. October numbers will be issued Nov. 19.

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