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Florida 4th highest in jobless claims filed during the week ending April 11

Construction, manufacturing, trade workers hit hard
Posted at 1:14 PM, Apr 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-23 18:22:15-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — New job numbers were released Thursday and, as expected, they aren’t pretty.

The federal government said more than 4.4 million Americans filed for unemployment last week, bringing five-week total to 26 million, and a five-week total to 26 million.

According new numbers from the U.S. Department of Labor, Florida had the fourth highest amount of jobless claims (10,534) filed during the week ending April 11. Only Colorado (58,246), New York (50,250) and Missouri (10,668) had a higher amount of claims in that time period.

The federal agency cited Florida's layoffs are mostly in the fields of construction, manufacturing, retail trade, wholesale trade, accommodation and food services, and health care and social assistance industries.

As of Wednesday, more than 1.7 million employment claims have been filed by Florida workers since March 15, according to the state's Department of Economic Opportunity.

The state now says they have paid 116,830 of unemployed workers, which is 17 percent of the claims submitted. This is an improvement from Monday when only 6.2 percent of jobless employees had received their checks.

Frustration Continues For Palm Beach County Workers

After a month of being out of work, about 30 Avocado Grill employees in West Palm Beach will return to work as the restaurant starts take-out and delivery services. Still the owner says more than 70 of his employees are having trouble filing for unemployment.

“The past month has been very, very difficult as a restaurant owner, thinking of my employees chatting with them seeing that they are not getting help from the government, seeing that theyre not getting their unemployment checks,” said Avocado Grill chef and owner Julien Gremaud.

Gremaud, who owns Avocado Grills in West Palm Beach and Palm Beach Gardens, said he initially closed both restaurants completely over concerns of how COVID-19 is transmitted.

But after a month of 160 of his employees being out of work, he’s been looking for a way to re-open safely in some capacity.

Workers hang a sign outside of Avocado Grill in West Palm Beach on April 23, 2020 to indicate the business now offers carryout and delivery.
Workers hang a sign outside of Avocado Grill in West Palm Beach on April 23, 2020 to indicate the business now offers carryout and delivery.

“Everyone is wearing gloves, everybody is wearing masks, and we’re going to be opening for take-out. So, at least out of my 160 employees, 20 or 30 of them will be able to get some money in their pockets," said Gremaud.

This news offers some hope for Sandro Langello, who is eager for his boss to re-open the coffee shop he was laid off from last month, especially since he's had trouble trying to claim his unemployment benefits.

“They are saying they fixed the system. They didn’t fix anything. It’s not fixed at all. I don’t know what they’re dreaming or something but it’s not fixed. It’s worse,” said Langello.

Gremaud said he’s excited to start offering part of the menu and take-home cocktails, but most importantly get some of his cooks, bartenders and staff back to work.

“We're very hopeful that we will do well, but more than likely it will just help to feed my employees," said Gremaud.

Last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis put Palm Beach County resident Jonathan Satter in charge of fixing the state's beleaguered employment system.

Satter spoke with WPTV this week an outlined a four-prong approach to helping pay employed Florida workers.

The shutdown across the country because the coronavirus has had a devastating impact on the economy with about 26 million people seeking aid in about five weeks.