Florida’s jobless claims continue to decline week-to-week as the U.S. Department of Labor recorded the lowest number of claims in a week since the week that ended on March 14th, 2020.

The number of unemployment claims for the week that ended May 22nd was 8,864, which is down from the previous week that has a revised count of 14,561 claims.

The weekly decline may be attributed to Governor Ron DeSantis reinstating the work search requirement that was waived during the start of the pandemic when businesses were shutting down and jobs were limited.

As the state of Florida continues to open up and businesses are desperate to fill vacant positions, the work search waiver issued by DeSantis will expire May 29th and individuals seeking unemployment benefits will once again be required to submit at least five job applications a week to the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) or any registered career center.

In addition to the reinstatement of the work search requirement, the Florida legislature announced its plan to no longer allow Floridians to obtain federal unemployment assistance on top of the benefits they receive from the state. Currently, individuals in Florida who receive unemployment benefits are able to collect $275 a week from the state along with $300 a week from the federal government.

Although the federal assistance is part of President Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan that is set to expire on September 6th, Florida joins states like Texas, Georgia, and Ohio in stopping the federal assistance months before the expiration date. Unemployed Floridians’ availability for federal assistance will expire June 26th.

Like Florida, the number of unemployment claims during the week ending May 22nd also dropped nationally. The U.S. recorded approximately 406,000 unemployment claims which is 38,000 fewer claims than the week before.

According to the latest update released by the DEO on May 21st, there was a slight increase in Florida’s unemployment rate from 4.7% in March, to 4.8% in April. Even with the increase, Florida’s unemployment rate still remains under the national unemployment rate of 6.1%.

Data from the DEO regarding the unemployment rate in May, will not be available until June, therefore the decrease in jobless claims may not be reflected in the unemployment rate until the new data is released.

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Casey Owens is a writer at The Florida Capital Star. Follow him on Twitter at @cowensreports. Email tips to [email protected]