By The News Service of Florida
First-time unemployment claims in Florida continued a downward trend, with fewer claims recorded last week than during any non-holiday shortened week since Hurricane Ian hit the state in September.
The U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday released a report that estimated 5,034 claims were filed in Florida during the week that ended Feb. 25, down from a revised count of 5,353 during the week that ended Feb. 18.
Florida has averaged 5,677 claims over the past four weeks. The relatively small numbers of claims are similar to totals before the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the economy in 2020.
Florida had a 2.5 percent unemployment rate in December.
The state Department of Economic Opportunity will release a January rate on March 13. Nationally, an estimated 190,000 jobless claims were filed last week, down 2,000 from the prior week. National unemployment claims were under 200,000 for a sixth consecutive week.