TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – First-time unemployment claims in Florida doubled during the first week of 2022 from the holiday-shortened final week of 2021.

The U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday estimated 9,705 initial unemployment claims were filed during the week that ended Jan. 8, up from a revised count of 4,299 for the week ending Jan. 1.

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The agency initially projected 4,046 claims were filed during the final week of 2021. The 9,705 claims last week were the highest total since 10,110 claims were filed during the week that ended July 24 as the state was facing impacts from COVID-19’s delta variant.

Nationally, an estimated 230,000 claims were filed last week, up 23,000 from the prior week. Last week, the Labor Department reported the U.S. added 199,000 jobs in December, below expectations of economists.

But with wages rising 0.6 percent — an indication that employers are still struggling to find and retain workers — the national unemployment rate dropped from 4.2 percent to 3.9 percent.

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Florida in November had a 4.5 percent unemployment rate, with an estimated 483,000 Floridians out of work from a labor force of 10.63 million.

The state Department of Economic Opportunity will release a report showing December numbers on Jan. 21.

Florida’s unemployment claims in recent months have been far below totals in 2020, after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic caused massive job losses.

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