Nearly 30 million still jobless nationwide; $300 federal payments run out for FL’s unemployed

Jobless workers demonstrate in Miami Springs in support of continued federal unemployment benefits in the pandemic economy. Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Nearly 30 million people are still unemployed and getting benefits as of August 29 — the latest figure available — a new U.S. Labor Department report said on Thursday as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

In the category of claims for benefits, new claims filed in Florida for the week that ended Sept. 12 were down by 6,435, to 33,821 compared with 40,256 the week before. That data is not seasonably adjusted. Across the nation nearly 800,000 of those new claims were filed.

Meanwhile, a $300 weekly federal unemployment supplement for hundreds of thousands of jobless Floridians has run out.

Qualified jobless Floridians were paid $300 in weekly Lost Wages Assistance for weeks ending Aug. 1, 8 and 15, and recently extended to include the week ending Aug. 22, according to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

The final payment in Florida is due by Friday. The state will not receive additional weeks of payments because its state-based unemployment benefit is too small, according to the federal matching criteria.

No other federal unemployment funding is in sight. The $600 weekly federal unemployment supplement that helped sustain jobless workers for four months expired at the end of July.

Jobless Floridians now revert to the state-based unemployment benefit of up to $275 weekly, which was extended beyond its usual 12-week limit due to federal coronavirus-relief legislation. Florida has the lowest unemployment benefits in the nation, according to an analysis by the nonprofit States Newsroom. That analysis includes the number of weeks and the weekly amount of the payments.

Florida’s July unemployment rate of 11.3, representing 1.125 million jobless workers, was 1.1 above July’s U.S. unemployment rate of 10.2 percent. New state-by-state estimates for August are due for release Friday.