Newly unemployed must submit previously abandoned work-search requirement

Anyone receiving unemployment benefits in Florida should get ready for a major rule change on June 1. New applicants must also apply for five jobs per week to get unemployment payments.

According to state data, there are about 400,000 jobs currently open in Florida. 

"We have to recognize we're in a different environment right now, a much different world and there's not a lack of positions in the state of Florida," said Governor Ron DeSantis. 

The work-search requirement has been absent for about a year now, waived because of the pandemic and shrinking job market. 

"Anyone that is able-bodied and wants a job very likely you’re going to find a job," said the Governor. 

In Hillsborough County in April, the top three types of job openings included registered nurses, software developers, and customer service representatives. 

Florida's unemployment overhaul won't help those who fell victim to current system's failings

The Florida Legislature passed legislation to build a new and more efficient cloud-based unemployment benefits system. But that won’t help people who lost work during the pandemic and still can’t get benefits because of continuing issues with the existing system known as Connect.

Meanwhile, an estimated 14,872 first-time unemployment claims were filed last week in Florida, down from the average over the past three months as the state pushes to get people back into the workforce during the lingering COVID-19 pandemic. The estimate released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor for the week that ended May 8 indicated a decline in new claims from a revised count of 19,765 claims the previous week. 

The department had initially estimated 18,355 claims in Florida during the week that ended May 1. Initial estimates have been revised upward for 13 consecutive weeks as more data became available. 

Nationally, an estimated 473,000 first-time unemployment claims were filed last week, down 34,000 from the prior week. The national total was the lowest since the week of March 14, 2020, when 225,500 applications were made. Florida received 6,463 new claims that week. 

Since the start of February 2021, the state has averaged just under 20,000 new claims a week. By comparison, 223,082 new claims were filed in Florida during the week that ended May 9, 2020, after businesses shut down or dramatically scaled back to prevent the spread of the virus.

The peak of jobless applications came during the week that ended April 18, 2020, when 506,670 claims were filed. Florida will release an April unemployment report on May 21. Its March rate was 4.7 percent, representing 475,000 people out of work from a workforce of 10.17 million.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.