California No Longer Leads in Unemployment Claims

Florida has the unwanted distinction
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 30, 2020 5:24 PM CDT
Backlogged Florida Leads Nation in Unemployment Claims
Hillsborough County Library Service employee Stephen Duran, right, hands out unemployment paperwork to residents at the Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library in Tampa, Florida, earlier this month.   (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)

More people—432,465—filed for unemployment benefits last week in Florida than in any other state. California, which reported 328,042 new filings, had led the nation for four weeks, CNBC reports. They're among the more than 3.8 million people who applied for unemployment benefits nationally last week. Texas and Georgia each reported more than 250,000 new claims for the week ending April 25. Florida has about half the number of workers that California has. Proportionally—when accounting for the relative sizes of their labor forces—the states with the most unemployment filings for the past six weeks are Hawaii, Kentucky, Georgia, Rhode Island, and Michigan.

The jump in Florida can be attributed to the state belatedly processing a backlog of filings. During the first month of the pandemic slowdown, Florida lagged all other states in processing the claims, per the Miami Herald. Just 416,683 of the more than 2 million people who filed had been paid by Thursday. Others were ruled ineligible without being given a reason, and the state has said all 266,000 of them should reapply. The state and Deloitte Consulting, which created Florida's online system, are being sued; a judge is being asked to order a state agency to pay—immediately—hundreds of thousands of people who have been waiting more than a month for a check. (Read more unemployment stories.)

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