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Florida Unemployment Claims 12 Times Higher Than Before Pandemic

Masked woman outside of an unemployment office with a "now hiring" sign.
Lynne Sladky
Associated Press

Newly released data shows that 69,140 Floridians filed initial unemployment claims during the last week of January, more than 12 times as many as the same time last year. 

The data, released weekly by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, is a reminder that although the economy is recovering from the worst of the coronavirus recession, many Florida residents continue to struggle. 

Before the coronavirus sent shockwaves through the economy, Florida residents filed anywhere from 3,000 to 7,000 new unemployment claims each week. At the height of the economic shutdown last April, that number rose to 433,000. 

The unemployment rate was about 6.2% in December, placing Florida roughly in the middle of the pack compared to other states. 

Sydney manages community engagement programs like WJCT News' Coronavirus Texting Service. Originally from the mountains of upstate New York, she relocated to Jacksonville from Kentucky, where she reported on Appalachia's coal industry.