The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) reported the lowest number of initial Florida unemployment claims since the week that ended March 14th, 2020.

According to the DOL, the week that ended June 5 recorded an estimated 5,800 initial unemployment claims, which is down from a revised number of 8,257 claims from the week before.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) determined that March 15, 2020 is the official start date of the pandemic when calculating the weekly number of jobless claims recorded since it began. The week that ended March 14, 2020 recorded 6,463 initial claims in Florida, and before that, the state averaged 5,506 initial unemployment claims a week in 2020; meaning, the June 5 data released on Thursday reflecting 5,800 is only about 300 more claims than what the average was before the pandemic.

Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Legislature have been determined since summer 2020 to get the state back on its feet and fully recovered from economic turmoil that was caused by COVID-19. As the rest of the country chases Florida in emerging from the pandemic, the national numbers for weekly unemployment claims have also started to drop. The week that ended June 5th recorded 376,000 initial claims, 9,000 fewer claims than the prior week that had 385,000. Only nine states recorded an increase in claims during the same time frame.

Unemployment claims in other highly-populated states like California and Texas also declined during the same week of June 5. California recorded 53,004 initial jobless claims down from 72,003 the week before, and Texas recorded 17,734 during that week down from 21,927.

Although the national decline of weekly claims may be contributed to COVID-19 vaccinations, Governor DeSantis and others argue that Florida’s decline in weekly claims are in response to not only vaccinations but as well as actions reinstating pre-pandemic work search requirements for individuals who look to receive assistance.

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 starting June 26th.

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