A Leon County court ruled against a lawsuit that would have compelled the state of Florida to restore federal unemployment benefits.
Leon County Circuit Judge Layne Smith denied a temporary injunction Monday against Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state.
The lawsuit would have restored $300 in weekly federal unemployment compensation after DeSantis stopped participating in the program in May. DeSantis argued the benefit is incentivizing people to not work.
Florida is one of 26 states that dropped their participation early, arguing it was discouraging people from returning to work.
DeSantis told reporters the state’s attorneys will point to the number of available jobs in Florida. More than 400,000 jobs are now available. The Florida Chamber of Commerce says the state has already recovered 950,000 of the 1.3 million jobs lost last year when the pandemic brought the world economy to a halt.
“If you go around, almost everyone wants to hire in some way or some form,” DeSantis said. “And so the need to have elongated unemployment and all that is not.”
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity which oversees unemployment benefits in Florida issued the following statement on the lawsuit.
“The court ruling issued today affirms that the State of Florida’s successful Return to Work Initiative and subsequent withdrawing participation from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program was the right decision legally and has proven to increase employment and workforce participation.
Gov. DeSantis has always been a champion for working Floridians and Florida’s business community. Because of Gov. DeSantis’ leadership, the economic facts have proven that the state continues to outpace the rest of the nation in economic recovery. Florida’s unemployment rate is currently at 5.1% and continues to fall below the national average for 12 consecutive months, currently at 5.4%. Florida has experienced 15 consecutive months of job growth and has gained 964,400 jobs since April 2020.”