Florida unemployment rate jumps to 12.9%

Unemployment Update

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) -The state of Florida’s unemployment rate rose to 12.9% in April in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

New figures released by the state show the the rate went up 8.5% from March’s 4.4%.

“Well obviously we knew it was going to be significant,” said Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Friday morning in Jacksonville.

The April statistics reflect the more than 1.2 million jobless Floridians. According to the Department of Economic Opportunity that number as of Thursday the number of unemployed Floridians is now 1.5 million.

April unemployment numbers are out and Florida rose to 12.9%. It's up 8.5% since March.
April unemployment numbers are out and Florida rose to 12.9%. It's up 8.5% since March. (Source: DEO)

“It was 2.8% just two months ago in terms of the report. And then for this one. So I think what we have to do and one of the reasons why I wanted to do a safe, smart, step-by-step approach to recovery is that if we can get people back to work, get some confidence back in the communities you’ll start to see hopefully a lot of these jobs be recovered,” said Gov. DeSantis.

Locally Manatee and Sarasota counties both took a hit from the domino effect of the pandemic. Both ranking in the top 20 counties with the highest unemployment rate across the state.

Sarasota County ranks 8. Manatee County ranks 19.
Sarasota County ranks 8. Manatee County ranks 19. (Source: DEO)

Sarasota County went from 4.2% unemployment rate in March to 14.8% in April. The DEO reports 25, 438 people were reportedly unemployed in April within the county, of the 171, 832 in the labor force.

Manatee County went from 4.3% in March to 13.5% in April. DEO records show 21,820 people were unemployed in Manatee County in April of the 161, 474 people in the labor force.

Charlotte County went from 4.9% in March to 15.6% in April.

DeSoto County went from 4.6% in March to 7.4% in April.

Hillsborough County went from 4.2% in March to 12% in April.

“Overwhelmingly here on the Suncoast we are a hospitality market so we knew those numbers were going to balloon,”said CareerSource Suncoast Workforce Development Director, Chris Laney.

"We knew it was going to be significant. And so it's been really difficult," said FL Governor Ron DeSantis.

Laney says numbers in May will likely bring another rise in the unemployment rate.

"I don't think we're going to see a decrease in the next month. I think we're going to see an increase at least for the next couple of months and then I think we're going to start to topple off as businesses start to get back to some sort of normalcy where they can get people back into full-time work," said Laney.

The Governor says that's a part of the mission through the state's safe, smart, step-by-step approach to recovery.

"So there's definitely a path to get a lot of those people back to work.And that's what we have to do. So that's why our whole plan is built on obviously keeping people safe," said Gov. DeSantis.

He says the national mitigation that happened has come at a mayor cost.

CareerSource Suncoast reps say they’re looking into what it will take to rebound as a community.

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