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Unemployment Rises to 9.7 percent

April 17th, 2009 by flanews

The state’s unemployment rate rose to 9.7 percent in March according to
statistics released today. The demand for unemployment benefits is so
great, the state is adding another call center to process claims. As
Whitney Ray tells us, the state is using some stimulus dollars to keep up
with the need, but lawmakers are leaving half a billion more federal dollars
unclaimed.

20 thousand Floridians lost their jobs in March. The unemployment rate for Florida is now 9.7 percent. Operators at the state’s unemployment hotline are being bombarded with calls. The state is adding a call center to keep up with the volume.

“The overflow call center is intended to designed to take an additional
10-thousand calls every day,” said the Interim Director of the Agency for Workforce Innovation.

The center will be operated out of Orlando… through a private contractor.
It will create 180 jobs and is being paid for with stimulus money.

Despite this news. half a billion federal stimulus dollars for the state’s
unemployed are still going unclaimed.

In order to claim the money state lawmakers would have to lighten
unemployment qualification standards. Governor Charlie Crist is urging them
to find a way to secure the dollars. The governor also says signs of life
in the housing market are an indicator the state’s work force could rebound.

“There are other indicators that tell us things are on the upswing.
Hopefully that will start to hit the unemployment sector sooner or later
because I feel for those people,” said Crist.

It’s been 33 years since the state’s unemployment rate has reached 9.7
percent. 900,000 Floridians are now looking for work. Construction jobs are no longer taking the largest hit.

Now professional and business service workers are now leading the pack. Lawyers, accountants, engineers and others in the professional and business service sector account for a 117-thousand of the state’s unemployed.

Posted in Charlie Crist, Education, State News, Unemployment | No Comments »

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