First-time unemployment claims jump in Florida

The state of Florida had over 40,000 new unemployment claims during the week ending on October 3, which is up from 32,373 the week before, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Tourism is the hardest hit industry, with companies like Disney, Universal, and Baggage Airline Guest Services announcing thousands of layoffs. Regal Cinema suspended operations of all of its movie theaters, including 48 locations in Florida, and P.F. Chang's cut the hours of nearly 800 employees across the state.

In the midst of the layoffs, Florida democrats announced a proposal to revamp the state's unemployment system during the 2021 legislative session.

"Under the best circumstances for collecting unemployment before the pandemic, this system in Florida was designed under the premise that every application is fraudulent, and there are so many hurdles and barriers to success that still exist," said Sen. Jane Cruz, D-Tampa.

The bill would impose a three-week deadline on the state to get the benefits to the applicant. It would do away with the waiting period for applicants so they don't go a week or two without pay, and it would increase the weekly benefit amount from the current $275 to a maximum of $500.