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Locals suffer as Florida's unemployment rate increases

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Posted at 4:53 PM, Aug 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-21 18:48:05-04

New numbers are out showing some discouraging news on the jobs front.

The unemployment rate has increased in Florida as businesses continue to battle through the coronavirus.

"It's been an incredible struggle," said Amy Hess, who's been out of work since March because of COVID-19.

Hess applied for unemployment benefits, but five months later, she says she hasn't received a dime.

"It took me about a week to even complete the application initially due to the system constantly crashing and overloaded," Hess said.

Hess says her application was denied in May, but she was never given a reason why.

"I appealed that denial and since then I've been in limbo. They can tell me nothing other than I have to wait until my appeal is set for a hearing," Hess said.

Hess is a mother with two small boys at home, and she tells us she's not surprised unemployment jumped up in July.

According to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the unemployment rate increased one percentage point since June to 11.3% statewide.

"It's not good, it's kind of discouraging for sure and the job losses are greatest where we expect it to be, which is in the leisure and hospitality industry," said Tom Veenstra with CareerSource Palm Beach County..

Veenstra says the unemployment rate increased in Palm Beach and the Treasure Coast, but there is one bright spot.

"Job postings for Palm Beach County actually are up compared to June, that's good," Veenstra said.

Palm Beach, Martin, and Broward counties are joining forces for a triple-county virtual career expo next Wednesday, Aug. 26. For more information, click here.