Florida Unemployment Compensation Being Reduced
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) â¿¿ Florida's improving unemployment rate may be good news for most people, but it will have a negative effect on many of the estimated 836,000 workers who remain jobless.
That's because Florida no longer qualifies for federal extended benefits because of its lower jobless rate, which is likely to reduce state benefits as well.
Those two factors are compounded by the impending expiration of federal emergency unemployment compensation at the end of the year.Unless Congress extends the emergency benefits, the net effect could be a reduction in combined state and federal compensation, which once offered up to 99 weeks of benefits, to 20 weeks or less for Florida workers who lose their jobs in 2013 or beyond. Those currently drawing compensation or who apply before the end of this year are facing less drastic reductions. The reductions in all three elements of Florida's unemployment compensation system are tied to the same thing, said Florida AFL-CIO legislative and political director Rich Templin. "That is a failure of leadership in Washington and leadership in Tallahassee to deal with the real problem of unemployment, which is the chronic unemployment that we're seeing because of major economic shifts," Templin said. Unemployment rates are falling in part because Florida's labor force is shrinking as long-term unemployed workers drop out of the system, Templin said. The Florida Chamber of Commerce pushed for the state benefit reductions. The chamber's executive vice president, David Hart, said the falling unemployment rate shows Florida is making the right policy moves to create jobs and bring the state out of recession. Federal extended benefits that provided up to 20 weeks of compensation will be cut off on May 12, state officials said. Florida lost eligibility for that funding when its March unemployment rate dropped to 9 percent.
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