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Unemployment Hits 8.1 Percent

January 23rd, 2009 by Mike Vasilinda

Florida had 255,000 fewer jobs at the end of December than when 2008 started. 64 thousand people lost jobs in December alone, pushing the states unemployment rate to 8.1 percent. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, the jobless numbers havent been this high since September 1992, when the rate was 8.9 percent.

Hear it Here: Unemployment Hits 8.1 Percent
The parking lot is full at this Workforce office. Donnie Morrison is one of Decembers job casualties, joining 752 thousand Floridians out of work.

Im part of that number, Donnie Morrison, an unemployed cook, said. Its hard right now. I mean, Im here right now at Workforce, looking for a job everyday.

Inside, computer terminals are packed with job seekers. Orion Raybon isnt even part of the statistics yet. He got his pink slip Friday morning.

They came to me today and just basically said you know we have to let you go, Raybon said. I asked them for a reason and they basically said I wasnt meeting their expectations, when I was giving my all.

This staff at this Agency for Workforce Innovation call center is slammed with people on the phone looking for help.

Whats the most common thing people say to you?

The most common thing? Thank you or God bless you, Unemployment claims agent Ericka Jones said.

Even with a thousand phones lines, patience is required.

The call wait today is about 30 minutes. But call Monday, and it could take you about an hour to get through.

Floridas unemployment continues to outpace the nations and economists predictions.

Well the economic estimating conference had forecasted a peak of 8.1 percent in August of 2009, state economist Rebecca Rust said. So weve already reached that peak for the year.

64 thousand Floridians joined the jobless ranks in December.

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