DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY
78-year-old real estate broker waiting 18 months for unemployment benefits turns to News 6
John “Jack” Sullivan never thought he would be collecting unemployment benefits at this stage of his life, but at 78 years old, the retired sales manager not only needed benefits, but was “stuck” waiting for those benefits since August 2020.
9 Invesitgates DEO overpayment obstacles
From mid-March to May 2020, the DEO was automatically requesting payments for people. “All I drew (for unemployment) was about six weeks,” Watwood said. They’re among those dealing with the latest round of overpayment notices from DEO. Read: City of Winter Park hosting job fair to fill 50 open positions“Navigating this has been one of the newest crises of the unemployment system,” State Rep. Anna Eskamani said. “While the system automatically processed your Reemployment Assistance benefits, claimants will now need to recertify these weeks in the system.wftv.com
Nearly 58,000 unemployment accounts in Florida targeted by cyber thieves
The Department of Economic Opportunity says there was a data security incident involving potentially fraudulent activity connected to claimant accounts within the Reemployment Assistance Claims and Benefits Information System, commonly known as CONNECT.
‘Incarceration status’ leaves single mom without unemployment benefits for 7 weeks
Victoria Thomas is the first to admit she was driving on a suspended driver license in 2018 but she cannot explain why that event prompted the Department of Economic Opportunity to suspend her state unemployment benefits.
‘I have not gotten one payment:’ Single mom waiting 6 months for unemployment benefits
A single mom facing divorce and mounting bills is in the middle of six-month stalemate with the Department of Economic Opportunity to receive $6,700 in back unemployment benefits. Jada Jordan, a physical therapist assistant, told News 6 she lost her job in July 2020 but was deemed ineligible for unemployment benefits until October 2020 because her salary did not meet the minimum earned in the previous quarter. “I have not gotten one payment,” a frustrated Jordan said. Even though her DEO account status shows it is active-eligible, Jordan has never received the benefits to which she is entitled. News 6 presented Jordan’s unemployment documents to the DEO office in Tallahassee this week.
Florida’s unemployment website Connect will be down Friday
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida’s unemployment website Connect will be unavailable Friday to process claims, according to the state Department of Economic Opportunity. The DEO announced Thursday afternoon the reemployment assistance customer service center and the Connect portal would be down for all of Friday, March 26. The website will be down as the DEO works to process pandemic unemployment assistance benefits made available through the most recent federal coronavirus relief bill. It is the first time that weekly applications for jobless aid have fallen below 700,000 since mid-March of last year. Since last March, the Florida DEO has processed more than 5 million claims seeking unemployment benefits and paid out more than $24 billion to claimants, much of that from federal funding.
Florida jobless rate drops as vaccines state expands vaccine eligibility
The state Department of Economic Opportunity reported Monday that Florida’s unemployment rate decreased to 4.8 percent in January, down 0.3 percentage points from a revised December rate. AdFlorida initially reported its December unemployment rate at 6.1 percent, but that number was subsequently revised to 5.1 percent. “But towards the end of the year and continuing in January, we’ve seen people coming back into the labor force. The Jacksonville metropolitan area was at 4.4 percent, and the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area was at 4.6 percent. The statewide 4.8 percent unemployment rate is seasonally adjusted, while the local rates are not.
Cyber thieves using 3D masks to deceive unemployment video security
ORLANDO, Fla. – Cyber thieves are using 3D masks in their latest attempt to access billions in state and federal unemployment benefits. Blake Hall, CEO of ID.me, an identity verification company, told News 6 the masks are being used in roughly 2% of the new jobless applications across the country. “In our system, you actually have to have a phone that ties you to your identity in your records,” Hall said. “On that control alone we are stopping 20% of fraud.”Hall said the thieves are using innovative techniques to crack state unemployment systems because the financial return is so lucrative. Ron DeSantis acknowledged the cyber-attacks targeting the state’s unemployment system calling them relentless, adding the current Connect system needs to be fixed.
Inspector General's report finds that Florida's broken unemployment system wasn't built or even tested properly
Ron DeSantis’ office.The 95-page draft report by Chief Inspector General Melinda Miguel focused on the Department of Economic Opportunity’s CONNECT unemployment system, which cost $78 million and began operating in 2013. “We could not find evidence where DEO (the Department of Economic Opportunity) enforced this contract requirement. "We finished work on the CONNECT project nearly six years ago after the state accepted the system and we met all of our obligations. We have not worked on CONNECT since May 2015, at which time the system was performing well above the agreed-upon standard for system availability and far exceeding the performance of the system it replaced. The drastic spike in COVID-related jobless claims overwhelmed many states’ unemployment systems, taxing even those that had the latest technological updates.orlandoweekly.com
Florida inspector general report finds longstanding problems with state unemployment system
The 95-page draft report by Chief Inspector General Melinda Miguel focused on the Department of Economic Opportunity’s CONNECT unemployment system, which cost $78 million and began operating in 2013. The system largely crashed last spring when it was inundated with claims as businesses shut down because of the pandemic. Ken Lawson resigned as department director in August, a little more than four months after DeSantis put Department of Management Services Secretary Jonathan Satter in charge of shoring up the CONNECT system. AdMiguel’s report awaits review and comments from vendors linked to CONNECT, including Deloitte Consulting, which was a major contractor. Deloitte sought to distance itself from the unemployment system last year, replying to a potential class-action lawsuit in June by saying it has had “no connection” to the online system in more than five years.
DEO director presents ambitious plan to fix Florida’s unemployment system
Department of Economic Opportunity Director Dane Eagle presented an aggressive blueprint to revamp the struggling Connect unemployment system on Monday with a proposed expense sheet of $73.3 million over the next two fiscal years. According to Eagle, the money is needed to invest in cloud migration, software architecture and business process optimization along with more than 430 new employees to meet the anticipated high level of unemployment claims. Eagle’s presentation came before the Senate Select Committee on Pandemic Preparedness and Response followed by a rigorous round of questions by the committee. The independent consultant’s audit included a stark comparison of initial unemployment claims for eight years between Jan.1, 2012 and March 14, 2020 and the 11 months that followed. During the eight years, initial claims reached 4.2 million while the 11 ”pandemic months” from March 15, 2020 to Feb. 10, 2021 saw 5.3 million claims.
DEO director set to present analysis of Florida’s aging unemployment system
Sources told News 6 DEO Director Dane Eagle had expected to make the presentation to the Senate Appropriations Committee to present the anticipated cost of revamping the system. They include retain the already existing system, custom development of a new system, a so called commercial off the shelf system, or another state agency system. One plan presented is spending about $155 million over the next two years to improve and modernize the current system. Stewart predicts the cost of revamping the current system could easily exceed $10 million that would be added to the $119 million the state already invested into the system last year. State Sen. Randolph Bracy plans to be all ears Monday when Florida’s DEO Director presents the findings of a recent audit regarding the state’s aging unemployment system.
Temporary jobs block months of DEO unemployment benefits for 2 single moms
ORLANDO, Fla. – Alicia Warren and Alexandra Marshall blame the Department of Economic Opportunity for leaving their families without thousands of dollars in unemployment benefits. Warren, a single mother of three, told News 6 she earned about $184 at a temporary job with Manpower USA only to lose the job after a week. “I just got a letter (from DEO) saying, ‘Congratulations on returning to work,’” Warren said. “I thought, Are you kidding me?’”Finding work to fit her children’s schedule has been a challenge for the Orlando resident. Hamrick said holding onto to a full-time job with benefits will be difficult despite Florida’s easing jobless claims.
Benefits delay for furloughed accounts receivable employee finally over
Josephine Otero said the long 30-week wait for her unemployment benefits forced her into a financial black hole with a lot of bills and no way to pay them. News 6 reviewed her account and found the payments owed were listed as payable until the week ending May 23, 2020. News 6’s unofficial review of her records found Otero is owed roughly $18,000 in state and federal benefits spanning 30 weeks. “Every time I call they say it’s due to the pandemic (the delay), that they’re working on it,” Otero said. On Thursday, DEO spokesman John “Trip” Farmer said the account was reviewed this week and the findings were in Otero’s favor.
Self-employed jury analyst says DEO owes her $14,000 in jobless benefits
BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – Denisse Higgins-Tuffley says her business as a courtroom analyst for insurance defense cases went from flourishing to flat when COVID-19 forced courts to shut down last year. When her business came to a halt, she told News 6 she applied for unemployment benefits, complete with 1099 tax forms. “I have a spreadsheet and it looks like they owe me $14,000,” the frustrated courtroom analyst said. She told News 6 the DEO needs a separate website to accommodate self-employed workers who find themselves out of work and in need of weekly benefits. The DEO is usually able to update accounts presented by News 6 in five business days.
Stuck in unemployment limbo: 70-year-old waiting for jobless benefits since July
WINTER PARK, Fla. – Bonnie Nasset, 70, of Winter Park, had been waiting for jobless benefits since July despite being told her Department of Economic Opportunity unemployment account was active and eligible. “They’re ignoring me!”The semi-retired gig worker was taking temporary jobs in Orange County for Kelly Services in 2019 and the start of 2020. | Fifth-largest lotto jackpot up for grabs]However, in the middle of March 2020, the job opportunities stopped because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Everything (on the DEO account) says ‘hold, hold, hold.’”Nasset said she refused to give up and turned to News 6 as her last hope. This would never have happened w/o your effort.”If you have an unemployment issue email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
News 6 helps unemployed military veteran claim jobless benefits
Much to his surprise, he said he was unable to get unemployment benefits approved because of a denial for benefits dating back to 2008. “I haven’t seen any back-pay,” a frustrated Brulotte told News 6 from his home. News 6 contacted the DEO’s outgoing press scretary Paige Landrum, who was able to get Brulotte’s account updated in 24 hours. On Saturday, Brulotte told News 6 his bank account had a $5,000 deposit from the DEO just in time for his 51st birthday. “You were my last hope .”The DEO is working to update cases as quickly as possible.
Questions Remain About Added Jobless Benefits for Floridians
Questions remained about when extended unemployment benefits from a newly signed federal stimulus package will be available for Floridians out of work because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The state’s jobs agency had not posted a timetable about the extended benefits, and no formal announcement had been made about whether Floridians will be covered for the current week because of when the $900 billion federal package was signed. The package Trump signed is slated to provide $300 in federal benefits for each week a currently eligible claimant receives unemployment assistance. People who become unemployed early in 2021 would be able to draw the additional benefits through April 5. The federal government has been responsible for nearly $16 billion of the money, largely because Congress passed a stimulus package in the spring that boosted benefits.flaglerlive.com
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford area has the highest unemployment rate in the state as Florida’s jobless numbers hold steady
click to enlarge Creative CommonsFlorida’s unemployment rate held steady in November, as businesses did not boost seasonal hiring as much as usual amid the COVID-19 pandemic.The state Department of Economic Opportunity on Friday posted a 6.4 percent jobless rate for November, equal to a revised jobless mark for October. The rate indicates 651,000 Floridians qualified as unemployed in mid-November, just 7,000 fewer than a month earlier.The October mark had initially been estimated at 6.5 percent before being revised. “But we're already seeing things coming back to a large extent, too.”The state has regained nearly 60 percent of the 1.18 million jobs lost between February and April as the pandemic took hold. Our labor force is growing,” Johnston said. Ocala has added 1,900 jobs, while Sebring is up 200.orlandoweekly.com
DEO mistake leaves single mom facing unemployment with 2 kids and no benefits
The single mom applied for unemployment benefits when she was furloughed from her job in April but was forced to reapply when it was discovered her application was not in the system. “Finally when I got through to somebody all the way in August, they tell me they can’t find my claim,” Kelly said. She refiled for benefits in August but the DEO never adjusted the claim to reflect the weeks she was actually out of work. “It shows that I have weeks available but I can’t claim those weeks,” a frustrated Kelly said. A DEO representative called her on Monday and was able to back date her unemployment file so she will be eligible to collect benefits for April and May.
Florida woman sleeping on porch, renting bedroom to help pay mortgage
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Ann Shepard has been fighting to save her Fort Myers home by renting out her bedroom for the past nine months. [TRENDING: Record-setting attractions coming to Orlando | Bacteria halts swan boats | Snake and eggs for breakfast]She’s been sleeping on a mattress on her back porch since April. The confusion over her job status with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity was triggered by a temporary job that lasted less than a day. “I know unemployment is not the answer,” a tearful Shepard said. Supervisors with the agency reviewed her account status and were able to deposit $1,500 in unemployment money into her account Tuesday.
Single father says no one can explain 16 missing unemployment checks
Vaughn Tucker has a high stakes unemployment mystery on his hands. According to the unemployed single father, 16 federal unemployment checks were sent to his Windemere apartment but were never delivered to his mailbox. “I have to be able to eat, I have to be able to feed my son,” the former Disney resort worker said. The agency is tracking the checks to determine if they were lost, stolen, or cashed by someone else. DEO Press Secretary Paige Landrum said there was an issue with the address in the system.
Florida lawmakers consider future of state unemployment system Connect in 2021
Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity website Connect may be weeks away from being tossed and replaced if Florida lawmakers like State Sen. Linda Stewart, (D) of Orlando, and State Rep. David Smith, (R) of Seminole County, have their way. The two are part of a growing number of legislators who want the aging system replaced by new technology that would be capable of handling the anticipated demand for state unemployment benefits. Several lawmakers including State Rep Anthony Sabatini, (R) of Lake County, and State Rep Randy Fine, (R) of Brevard County, said they want to see what is most cost effective first. DEO director Eagle said he hired ISF INC., an IT and strategy firm, to investigate the Connect system. He also plans to ask the legislature for an additional 108 employees to train on the Connect system.
DEO director asking legislature for more staff to handle thousands of unemployment claims
ORLANDO, Fla. – The long wait for unemployment benefits in the state of Florida is the reality of a system that handles “thousands of claims every week,” according to the Department of Economic Opportunity Director Dane Eagle. In an exclusive interview with News 6, Eagle said he has already hired 200 additional people to assist residents who have filed unemployment claims but he admits he is about to ask Tallahassee for more reinforcements. “Each one of them aren’t going to be able to flip the light switch and get them their claim," Eagle said. Ron DeSantis two months ago and since then has been working to improve response and investigate the much-maligned Connect system, the link used to file claims for unemployment benefits. The former state legislator said while the unemployment claims are slowly going down, there were another 67,000 new claims last week.
Furloughed truck driver says $260 paycheck cost her thousands in unemployment help
“The last time I was paid (by the Department of Economic Opportunity) was the week of July 5 to July 11,” she said. News 6 found the DEO website had the mother of two listed as having been discharged from BR Interviewing . When COVID-19 hit she was furloughed after just one month on the job. The Department has put together this video to help claimants navigate their CONNECT inbox. If you have an unemployment benefits issue send an email with a copy of your DEO account to firstname.lastname@example.org
Job application with Census Bureau stops unemployment benefits of furloughed Universal worker
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Stephan Golub never imagined a job application with the Census Bureau would leave him ineligible for unemployment assistance from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity for 11 weeks. He applied for the position to earn extra money but because of COVID-19 the hiring process was frozen until August. “I was on their [Census Bureau] files to work for them but never did,” Golub said. Golub presented Census Bureau records that confirm he was deemed ineligible for the job because his residency had changed from Orange to Seminole County. The agency had Golub listed as “returned to work” leaving his current unemployment benefits claim of 11 weeks or $1,500 in payments on hold.
Palm Coast Airbnb owner says lost revenue forced her into unemployment benefits fight
PALM COAST, Fla. – Jennifer Perry has seen her Palm Coast condominium evolve from a five-star Airbnb to a reservation casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Before COVID, I was 100% booked,” Perry told News 6. [READ MORE: News 6, DEO help single mom unlock 12 weeks of unemployment benefits | News 6, DEO unlock unemployment account ‘suspended’ for 17 weeks]“I’ve lowered my prices probably 20-30%,” Perry said. Perry told News 6 she has been waiting seven months for some sort of financial relief. "It’s not even a matter of frustration, I’m worn the heck down.”DEO Press Secretary Paige Landrum said Perry’s case is unique.
DEO’s mistake leaves woman’s unemployment application ‘under review’ since May
MARION COUNTY, Fla. – Casey Thorner operated a prosperous home cleaning service in Marion County until COVID-19 created a wave of cancellations and forced her to file for unemployment benefits with the Department of Economic Opportunity. “It was like my whole world shut down,” Thorner told News 6 from her Ocala home. “I filled out my (unemployment) application, obviously I put this is how much I made,” she said. News 6 presented the records to the DEO’s Tallahassee office last week in an attempt to move the account review along. "There are great people at the DEO just as frustrated as we are, Thorner told News 6.
Single mom says DEO unemployment checks arrived with wrong last name
ORLANDO, Fla. – The Department of Economic Opportunity sent five unemployment checks to the home of 25-year-old Allison Crock last month but the Orlando single mom discovered every check was made to the order of Allison Clark. “They have Allison right and Clark as my last name and it’s Crock,” she said. She said she had been waiting for checks since April when the five checks worth nearly $7,000 were delivered to her Orlando home over a few days last month. “They say, ‘I’m sorry ma’am we can’t cash these because you have the wrong last name.’”News 6 contacted the DEO’s Tallahassee office to present the Crock-Clark wrong name story. DEO press secretary Paige Landrum was able to get it to supervisors to review the account.
P.F. Changs announces 289 layoffs across Central Florida restaurants
ORLANDO, Fla. – P.F. Chang’s China Bistro warned the Department of Economic Opportunity of mass layoffs, saying 289 workers will be impacted across three Central Florida locations. [TRENDING: Newlywed couple killed in plane crash | Ballot for dead wife meant to ‘test system’ | FSU president tests positive for COVID-19]With the reduction of hours and unforeseeable business circumstances, P.F. These layoffs impact dozens of hosts and hostesses, cooks, bartenders, servers, operating partners and even senior sous chefs. “Any reduction in the notification period is a result of the unforeseeable business circumstances and economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Employees of Florida's unemployment agency are returning to office
click to enlarge Screenshot via Google MapsEmployees of Florida’s jobs agency who have been working at home will soon have to be back in the office, but there is no word on when other departments will follow suit or when state buildings will fully reopen to the public.A week after Gov. Ron DeSantis lifted COVID-19 business restrictions, Department of Economic Opportunity employees who have been able to work remotely during the pandemic have been told they will need to transition back into the office, starting Monday.Louise Mondragon, chief of human resource management for the department, outlined in a memo Thursday the return to “full-time office hours.”Employees who are in what is known as the senior management service class are expected to return Monday, with other employees shifting back to the office on Oct. "Employees should discuss their individual circumstances with their direct supervisors," Mondragon said in the memo.The department, whose numerous duties include overseeing the unemployment system, is an executive agency under the governor’s office.Fred Piccolo, a spokesman for Gov. Ron DeSantis, said such directions about bringing workers back to offices are up to individual agencies, when asked about plans to reopen state government buildings.“There is no directive coming from the governor’s office, but each agency is making plans to return to work based on the movement to Phase III,” Piccolo said in an email. “It will be revisited again at that time.”Also, no immediate changes have been announced for people working at home for the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which is under Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, the only statewide elected Democrat.“Our department has received no guidance on office reopenings, and our employees and offices will continue to follow our cautious, science-based plan for reopening as local conditions allow,” Franco Ripple, a spokesman for Fried, said in an email.Similarly, no changes are planned in the Attorney General’s Office, where spokeswoman Lauren Cassedy noted that on a volunteer basis 25 percent of employees currently can work in the office.“We will not be reopening any offices to the public until (the Department of Management Services) indicates that state buildings are reopening to the public,” Cassedy said in an email.Representatives of the Department of Management Services, which oversees state buildings, did not immediately reply to a request for comment on Friday.orlandoweekly.com
News 6, DEO help single mom unlock 12 weeks of unemployment benefits
Kimberly Kleckly has been fighting to get her state unemployment benefits restarted after a two-day training session for a new job was cut short because she tested positive for COVID 19. “Two days of training and that was it,” the frustrated mother of five told News 6. Her DEO account listed her as “returned to work,” leaving her unemployment benefits on hold. “I asked to speak to a supervisor and then they told me to be patient, they’re backed up,” she said, “I have like 12 different lines with the date and it’s saying hold, hold ,hold, hold.”News 6 contacted the Department of Economic Opportunity to bring attention to Kleckly’s status. If you would like to help her family or you have an unemployment issue, email us: email@example.com
As Disney Lays Off 6,700 Due to Low Attendance, DeSantis Congratulates Himself on Reopening
In another major sign of how Covid-19 has damaged Florida’s tourism industry, about 6,700 layoffs are expected to hit non-union workers at Walt Disney World starting Dec. 4. On Tuesday, Disney Parks Chairman of Experiences and Products Josh D’Amaro advised employees of the pending layoffs. “We’ve had Disney parks open since July. He later encouraged the parks to increase their daily attendance after a summer surge in Covid-19 cases started to slow. Still, by the start of September, Disney and Universal scaled back operating hours due to low attendance.flaglerlive.com
DeSantis defends early efforts to fix Florida's unemployment system
Any system was going to have some problems, but if we had anything other than 3 or 4 percent unemployment, this system was going to be a problem. Lori Berman, D-Lantana, added that the system has been treated with total ineptitude.People are desperate, Berman said. They are angry, and this is not OK. We thought that the governor would give us some answers. The problems that we're having to talk to the engineers (about) are beyond what was in that. But I don't know that that is the reason why we're dealing with the problems that we're dealing now.orlandoweekly.com
DeSantis to address Florida's broken unemployment system on Monday
click to enlarge Photo via Florida Governor's OfficeGov. Ron DeSantis said he will hold a news conference Monday to address the states much-criticized CONNECT unemployment compensation system.The system just totally broke. It's not a good system. We're going to deal with that, DeSantis said Sunday during an appearance at Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach.Since March 15, the state has received 1.78 million unemployment applications, of which more than 1 million are considered unique, as some people filed more than one claim. Overwhelmed by claims starting in mid-March, the Department of Economic Opportunity opened a backup online site for new claims and allowed people to fill out paper applications.orlandoweekly.com
Nearly 94 percent of Florida residents who applied for unemployment still haven't seen a check
click to enlarge Photo via Adobe StockSince March 15, nearly 94 percent of Florida residents who applied for unemployment benefits have yet to receive a dime from the state.Thats according to new data released Monday by the Department of Economic Opportunity, which now has a realtime dashboard showing just how incredibly slow the the state of Florida is responding to the immense fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.The FDEO says the online dashboard is a new effort at transparency, and will be updated daily with data reflecting the number of reemployment assistance claims submitted, verified, processed, and paid.This will start with complete transparency, efficiently streamlining the re-employment assistance process, waiving all red tape and ensuring hurting Florida families have the aid they need to get through COVID-19," said Department of Management Services Secretary Jonathan Satter in a statement.As of today, the dashboard says that 1,533,733 Florida residents have submitted claims between March 15-April 19, and that the state has processed just 40,193 checks, which is just 6.2% of the total. Another astounding point worth mentioning is that according to the data, roughly one out of four residents that applied were deemed ineligible for assistance.You can see the dashboard for yourself hereorlandoweekly.com
Florida's jobless numbers for March are bad, but they're also much worse than they look
This means that a large portion of the Florida economy was still operating in relatively normal circumstances in mid-March. In this regard, the March unemployment rate embodies only a limited number of the people who will ultimately be affected by the impact of coronavirus.Nationally, the March unemployment rate was 4.4 percent. I lie awake, for the couple hours that I do lie in bed at night. It is a very complicated process, but we are confident we are making progress hour by hour. The state reported increases in the categories of construction, warehousing, transportation and utilities and financial activities.orlandoweekly.com
State unemployment numbers hide full story of frustration
Floridas Department of Economic Opportunitys CONNECT unemployment site has been answering only 2 percent of the thousands of calls its received, with wait times averaging more than six hours. Included in Fridays numbers, DeSantis said, are 12,000 paper applications, recently introduced by the Department of Economic Opportunity. More than 6.6 million people nationwide filed for unemployment last week, according to Labor Department data released Thursday. That will undoubtedly force more out-of-work Floridians onto the CONNECT system. People need help now, but theyre still waiting, said Rep. Anna Eskamani, D-Orlando, who said most of her day is spent helping people navigate the CONNECT system.ocala.com
Coronavirus: Pressure builds to make Florida's jobless claims retroactive
Ron DeSantis on Tuesday to make jobless benefits retroactive as the state's newly unemployed continued to be mired in an unemployment system riddled with glitches and uncertainty amid the coronavirus outbreak. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, to extend unemployment benefits beyond the current 12-week limit and raise the $275 a week cap, among the lowest in the country. Only nine states offer fewer than 26 weeks of unemployment benefits. And they called on the governor to make benefit payments retroactive to the first day of unemployment. And amid the rampant filing troubles, it still remained unclear how quickly the state could begin issuing checks amid a backlog in claims.news-journalonline.com
February jobless rate already a distant memory
The Department of Economic Opportunity on Friday posted the February unemployment rate, which was unchanged from January. Department Executive Director Ken Lawson said bluntly on Friday the unemployment numbers are going up. Everything we are doing to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 is having an impact on businesses," Lawson said. "I realize patience is thin in a situation where people are hurting, but my people, my 1,500 people, are fully committed to helping Floridians," Lawson said. However, a study released Friday indicated that one in three tourism businesses in the state had laid off employees since March 1.ocala.com
Gov. Ron DeSantis presided over record-low unemployment in Florida. That's all about to change
click to enlargeGov. Ron DeSantis has been able to enjoy presiding over a state with record low jobless numbers. Entertainment venues from Disney and Universal to Major League Baseball spring training have shut down. I think that people already are getting a little tired with all the changes weve seen in society, and hopefully this doesnt go on for months and months. But I can just tell you, when we get on the back side of this, I think people are really going to want to get back to work.orlandoweekly.com
Marion County unemployment at 3.9% in January
The labor force numbered 138,383 in January, up from 136,277 in the same month in 2019. Marion Countys unemployment rate in January was 3.9%, down from 4.7% for the same month in 2019. While Januarys unemployment rate dropped year-over-year, Januarys unemployment rate rose from 3.2%, largely due to and increase in the labor force, according to DEO figures. Statewide, Floridas seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 2.8% in January, tying the historic low and down from 3.4% in January 2019. The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.6% in January.ocala.com
DeSantis Favors Senate Bill That Would Require All Public and Many Private Employers to E-Verify
Byrds bill (HB 1265) would require all public employers to use E-Verify, but would give all private employers the option to use an I-9 form. For months, DeSantis has asked the Republican-dominated Legislature to send him a bill that would require all public and private employers to use E-Verify. The Senate bill would also require private employers to provide verification documents to federal and state authorities upon request. Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez, D-Miami, has filed a long-shot amendment that would remove all of DEOs authority from the Senate bill. Rep. Anthony Sabatini, a co-sponsor of the Byrds E-Verify bill, told the News Service on Thursday that he also prefers the Senate plan.flaglerlive.com
State unemployment rate hits record low
The unemployment rate in Florida dropped to 3.0 percent in December, the lowest mark since the current estimating process started in 1976, according to numbers released Friday by the state Department of Economic Opportunity. The unemployment rate in Florida dropped to 3.0 percent in December, the lowest mark since the current estimating process started in 1976, according to numbers released Friday by the state Department of Economic Opportunity. They want to hire people, and our citizens have confidence they can find a job in the state of Florida, Lawson said. Across the state, the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach Metropolitan Statistical Area had the lowest jobless rate at 2.2 percent, followed by the Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin area at 2.3 percent. The highest unemployment rates were in The Villages and Homosassa Springs areas, each at 4.0 percent.news-journalonline.com
State jobless rate hits record low
The unemployment rate in Florida dropped to 3.0 percent in December, the lowest mark since the current estimating process started in 1976, according to numbers released Friday by the state Department of Economic Opportunity. The unemployment rate in Florida dropped to 3.0 percent in December, the lowest mark since the current estimating process started in 1976, according to numbers released Friday by the state Department of Economic Opportunity. Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Ken Lawson pointed, in part, to policies that encourage businesses to invest in the state. "They want to hire people, and our citizens have confidence they can find a job in the state of Florida," Lawson said. Across the state, the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach Metropolitan Statistical Area had the lowest jobless rate at 2.2 percent, followed by the Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin area at 2.3 percent.news-journalonline.com
Whats next for economic development efforts in Flagler?
After Flagler County Commissioners got rid of the Department of Economic Opportunity and associated advisory board, whats the next step for economic development? "At a minimum, you need a business development function that can help make sense out of how to foster that growth." "Theres been an incredible amount of growth and I am convinced that some significant portion of it was attributable to the economic development department," he said. The decision to upend the structure of the countys economic development effort came at the urging of County Commissioner Donald OBrien, who also served as chairman of the Economic Development Advisory Council. OBrien said he doesnt think the reorganization will have any impact on the countys future economic development efforts.news-journalonline.com
Under Floridas new minimum wage, what will you do with your extra $200 before tax?
click to enlarge Photo via Adobe StockDont spend it all in one place, folks.According to the states Department of Economic Opportunity minimum wage in Florida is about to jump from $8.46 to $8.56 an hour on Jan. 1. The new wages will also include a minimum wage of at least $5.54 an hour for tipped employees.Of course, all of this is absolutely meaningless for Floridas increasing population of working poor, which means despite having a job, you are unable to pay your bills, afford healthcare or other basic necessities, and are essentially just one accident away from sliding into near irreversible poverty.Sure, any pay increase is good, and the new wage is better than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, but this extra dime doesnt get anyone remotely close to an actual living wage.For some perspective, this bump means that the average minimum wage earner in Florida, who works 40 hours per week and 50 weeks per year, will now get an extra $200 before taxes. In other words, theyll earn $17,120 a year instead of $16,920.Either way, this is far below 2019s federal poverty level of $25,750 The only shred of hope in all of this is that Florida voters will be able to fix this embarrassing problem in November, as the proposal to gradually raise the state minimum wage to $15 an hour will finally be on the ballot A 2017 report from United Way found that 3.3 million households across Florida, which is almost half of Floridas families, are classified as working poor.A report in June said Orlando area minimum wage earners have to work 85 hours a week to afford cheapest apartments. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer announced in October that full- and part-time city employees would begin receiving a $15 minimum wage, the Sentinel reported.Nearby, Tampa has made some worthy strides in this regard. Last August, Tampa mayor Jane Castor announced that all city employees will earn a starting salary of $15 an hour.Now let's just do everyone else.orlandoweekly.com
As state probes, county asks next-door workforce group to step in for CareerSource
The Alachua County Commission voted to ask the Citrus Levy Marion County Workforce Development Board to temporarily take on administrative services for CareerSource of North Central Florida. To prevent the disruption of CareerSource of North Central Floridas services this week, Alachua County leaders decided Tuesday to ask another workforce organization to take the reins. Alachua County commissioners voted Tuesday to ask the Citrus Levy Marion County Workforce Development Board to temporarily handle local CareerSource administrative services. The workforce board is made up of Alachua and Bradford County community leaders in the private and public sector. Avery also said that because the Alachua Bradford board contracts its work out rather than hiring its own staff, as the Citrus Levy Marion board does, it has more accountability.ocala.com