The Bureau of Labor Statistics will release June unemployment numbers on Thursday morning.
According to the last set of numbers released, Florida’s unemployment rate was 14.5%. That was up slightly from April. In Palm Beach County, it was 14.1%.
But the number of first time unemployment claims is rising as we also see a spike in COVID cases in the state.
This comes as tens of thousands of Floridians remain in unemployment limbo, still waiting on claims to be processed.
The state says as of June 30, the Department of Economic Opportunity has paid 1,605,694 claimants a total of $8.32 billion. More than 2.5 million unique claims have been received by the state.
Local economists and assistant professor at Florida Atlantic University Dr. William Luther says this downturn will depend on how long the pandemic lasts and how long our fear lasts. He says, “it's a terrible trade off, we have to accept some additional risk if we're going to return to work. So we should think carefully about that, but we shouldn't reject it out of hand. There are costs on both sides."
Another issue to keep an eye on is the $600 a week in federal unemployment benefits that is set to expire at the end of the month. The House passed a measure that would extend those benefits with the HEROES ACT, however it is not expected to survive in the Senate.
Congresswoman Lois Frankel held a virtual discussion Wednesday with several local women who have been trying for months to get their state unemployment benefits. She, along with State Senator Lori Berman, is trying to get the women answers as they hit roadblocks with the state’s unemployment system. Frankel says, “why is it so complicated? We are in a pandemic, people are out of work through no fault of their own, why is this state making it so difficult to get people the benefits they need to live?”