Busy woman suffering stress working at laptop while talking on mobile phone.
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Stuck at home and unemployed--Floridian's frustrations with the state’s unemployment system continue to grow. Whether it’s accessing the website, or calling in, many say they are having no luck. They want answers and so do Democratic lawmakers.

Men in orange vests load luggage coming off a plane.
Photo by Calle Macarone on Unsplash

Gov. Ron DeSantis has temporarily removed some requirements to file for unemployment, but the AFL-CIO believes major changes need to be made to the entire system. The group held an online press conference with recently unemployed workers to stress the need for an update.

shallow focus photography of red and white for hire signage
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The COVID-19 pandemic is creating unprecedented demands for help on virtually every government service in Florida. At the top of the list is the state unemployment assistance program, which is widely regarded as one of the stingiest of any state. 

Inside of a mall with very few shoppers.
Marcin Kempa/Unsplash

Analysts say chances are increasing that Florida will enter a recession soon.

“Currently, Florida’s probability of being in a recession in the next 9 months is 34.2%,” says Florida Chamber Foundation Chief Economist Jerry Parrish.

The number is from The Florida Scorecard, the chamber foundation’s online tool that identifies and tracks key metrics important to Florida’s economy.

 Mark Ward surveys the destruction of his neighbor's mobile home in Bay County, Fla. Ward and his neighbors say that the rural parts of the county have seen little help since Hurricane Michael.
Tamara Lush / Associated Press

Florida’s unemployment is well below the national average, hovering around 3.3 percent. That’s the lowest it’s been in 12 years. But  that’s not the case in the state’s panhandle.

Florida's unemployment had been declining rapidly until December 2013.  Since then it's been hovering near 6.2 percent.
Bureau of Labor Statistics

The Big Bend’s unemployment rate is reaching historic lows, along with that of the state. There are plenty of “help wanted” signs but with few workers to be had,  the local economy is still growing.

DVIDSHUB/ flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/dvids/10820800325/

State lawmakers want to make Florida the most veteran friendly in the nation. This session, lawmakers are sticking with that pledge, with a push to improve veteran employment and education.

Florida has added more than one million jobs since Gov. Scott took office.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health via wikimedia commons

State officials say Florida added almost 36,000 private sector jobs in November.  That pushes the mark for Florida Governor Rick Scott’s tenure just past one million jobs.

Construction workers
University of Salford Press Office's photostream

Florida’s unemployment rate has dropped by a tenth of a percent since October. But some question if the downward trend in the unemployment rate will continue.

At 6 percent, unemployment is the lowest it’s been since June of 2008. Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Director Jesse Panuccio says he thinks the state’s economic policies are encouraging business owners to open up more jobs. 

Numbers released Friday show Florida added more jobs than any other state in June. Gov. Rick Scott announced the creation of 36,900 private-sector jobs last month. The statewide unemployment rate dipped to 6.2 percent, down a tenth of a percent from May.

But for the first time since last spring, Florida’s unemployment rate is higher than the national rate. Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Jesse Panuccio says it’s important to look at the bigger picture.

Soldier cutout
Jessica Palombo / WFSU-FM

When Rep. Ricardo Rangel (D-Kissimmee) returned to civilian life from military duty in 2010, he says he had the same difficulty finding a job many veterans experience. So when Rep. Clay Ingram (R-Pensacola) offered up a bill encouraging companies to hire veterans, Rangel was excited to vote for it.

“It’ll give the opportunity for some of these private sector employers to actually go ahead and start putting in place their own criterias (sic) and their own program to assist veterans to find work, so thank you very much,” Rangel says.

Florida Senate

Is Florida doing all it can to help unemployed people get back to work? Not everyone thinks so. At least one lawmaker says a skills assessment citizens are required to take before collecting benefits is doing more harm than good.

Sen. Nancy Detert (R-Venice) says she’s worried people applying for reemployment assistance might find the state’s test so frustrating they’d quit midway through or maybe never take the test at all.

“Are we spending millions to help people? Or are we spending millions just to annoy unemployed people,” Detert says.

LHatter / WFSU News

Both the national and state unemployment rate is hovering around seven percent. But it’s almost nine times that--upwards of 65 percent--for people with disabilities. That type of climate has 20-year-0ld Ashley Martin frustrated.

“Honestly, they’ve put me in areas that I don’t like, and it’s getting nowhere fast,' she said.

WORKFORCE plus Expanding Services To Higher-Income People

Sep 10, 2013
Jessica Palombo / WFSU News

Employment training center WORKFORCE plus will soon be able to serve more people in Leon, Gadsden and Wakulla counties. Training services and job preparation assistance will now be available to higher-income people.

WORKFORCE plus is raising the maximum hourly wage to qualify for its services by a third. CEO Jim McShane says employers have posted 6,000 jobs in the three-county region, and the one-stop shops will now be able to help more people get them.

July 2013 Unemployment Remains At 7.1 Percent

Aug 16, 2013
Department of Economic Opportunity

Florida’s unemployment rate is 7.1 percent. It’s been at that level since May.

That’s still below the national average of 7.4 percent and almost five points lower than it was in 2010 when it peaked at around 11 percent.

Madison, Hendry, Flagler, Putnam and St. Lucie Counties continue to have unemployment rates near or above 10 percent, while Franklin, Okaloosa, Monroe, St. Johns and Walton Counties have unemployment rates below 6 percent.

Florida's Tourism Is Up, Unemployment Is Down

May 17, 2013

Tourism has close to $70 billion in economic impact on the state of Florida and in the last two years, the Sunshine State has broken tourism records. Now, the state’s visitors have hit an all-time high for the first quarter of 2013.

“For the month of April Florida’s unemployment rate has dropped to 7.2 percent which puts us once again, below the national average.”

The state of Florida has seen its 30th consecutive month of declining unemployment rates. The jobless rate is the lowest the state has seen since September of 2008.

The jobless rate for the month of April was 7.2 %, down from March’s rate of seven and a half. Most of Florida’s employment gains come from the hospitality and trade industries and coincides with a record breaking quarter for tourism. Governor Rick Scott took credit for the falling rate and said businesses are thriving under his administration.

Number Of Unemployed Floridians Drops In March

Apr 19, 2013

Florida’s new unemployment numbers show the number of people out of a job went down this past month, and is close to a 5 year low.

Appealing for unemployment compensation could become more a more localized process, if a bill making its way through the Florida Senate becomes law. The bill would create 24 regional offices where employees could appeal their rejected unemployment claims.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Nancy Detert (R-Venice), says it’s aimed at cutting out bureaucracy from the process of collecting unemployment benefits. The roughly 120,000 Floridians who appeal for their benefits each year would be appealing to their local peers rather than to a state agency far away.

Florida’s unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in about four years. It dropped to 8.1-percent for the month of November.  And Florida’s chief economist Rebecca Rust said the state has gained more than 24-thousand jobs over the month. Some of those jobs are seasonal jobs related to the holiday.

“If you look at the last three years, the average gain in seasonal hiring, primarily related to seasonal hiring, primarily related to retail trade is about 50-thousand additional jobs. And the expectation is that this year, retailers expect a higher gain than that," Rust said.

Capital Report: Education Reform

Oct 19, 2012

This month the State Board of Education released a plan setting different goals for student achievement based on race and ethnicity. The move has been condemned by some education advocates who say it’s discriminatory and perpetuates stereotypes that some racial and ethnic groups are academically inferior. Others, applaud the goals, and say they’re a needed recognition of the achievement gap that exists and puts Florida on a path to closing it faster. Lynn Hatter has more.

Florida’s unemployment rate edged down in September by the smallest of margins.  Despite the modest drop, state officials say it’s a sign that Governor Scott’s drive to create private sector jobs is really working.

Capital Report: Election Day Countdown

Sep 24, 2012

In 2008, Barack Obama moved many young voters to raise their voices and vote for the first time. But have they stuck around in 2012? With less than 50 days to go before the general election, Jessica Palombo reports, Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney are battling for Florida’s young voters, who could make all the difference in the notoriously close swing state.

In recent weeks, there’s been lots of conflicting information coming out from the state. There is agreement that Florida’s economy is growing—but officials disagree on what’s contributing to that growth and whether or not it will continue.

Florida’s unemployment rate stalled last month at 8.6 percent. The lackluster jobs report coincided with Governor Rick Scott’s announcement that two new businesses are coming to Florida:

Unemployment rate stalls at 8.6 percent for June

Jul 20, 2012

Florida’s unemployment rate is holding steady at 8.6-percent.  The new figure comes on the heels of a report from the states research arm that says much of the fall in unemployment is over blown.

The state’s unemployment rate fall from almost 12 percent in December 2009, to 8.6 percent in June. On the surface, those numbers look good. It appears that many Floridians are finding work. But behind that 8.6-percent jobless number is another story.