The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) released the unemployment figures for March, showing the first indicators of the economic damage the coronavirus pandemic caused.
The unemployment rate in Florida jumped from 2.8 percent in February to 4.3 percent in March. During March, the labor force in the Sunshine State dropped by 120,000 and 37,300 private sector jobs were lost in Florida.
“This month, Florida saw expected changes in employment and unemployment data due to COVID-19 and the state’s effort to mitigate the spread,” DEO noted.
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order on Thursday which suspends the biweekly “actively seeking work” reporting requirement by claimants. DEO has also tried to fix problems that plagued the state’s employment assistance application website in recent weeks.
“Governor DeSantis and DEO are encouraging businesses to utilize state and federal resources currently available to Florida businesses. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering many federal loan programs to small businesses throughout the nation. These loan programs include the newly launched Paycheck Protection Program and the Debt Relief Program through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, as well as the established Economic Injury Disaster Loan. Various state and federal loan programs are available to affected businesses. For a comprehensive overview of all federal and state resources available to small businesses impacted by COVID-19, please visit Floridajobs.org/COVID-19,” DEO noted.