The sunshine state boasts the 4th largest economy in the U.S. and ranks among the top 20 economies in the world. With a population of nearly 20 million, Florida has overtaken New York to become the third most populated state in the country. Home to Disney World, Universal Studios and Cape Canaveral, Florida is among the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and its economy is heavily tourism based. Tens of millions of people visit Florida yearly, pouring billions of dollars into the state’s economy and supporting a massive employment industry for the state.
Like the nation as a whole, Florida has seen a welcome decrease in unemployment rates in recent years since the peak of the Great Recession. The state unemployment rate as of 11/30/15 was 5.0%, on par with the national unemployment rate. The job market is predicted to grow by 12.7 between now and 2023. As the unemployment picture in Florida has improved, the state has cut back the maximum number of weeks that claimants may collect unemployment benefits. On January 1st, 2015, the maximum number of weeks that a claimant could collect was reduced to 14. That number was reduced again on the first of this year, and now sits at 12 weeks. Florida already has one of the lowest maximum weekly benefit amounts nationwide at $275. The combination of reduction in the maximum weeks that can be collected, and the maximum weekly benefit amount means that unemployed claimants in Florida are collecting less than in most other states. Florida currently maintains a positive unemployment trust fund balance, but by current estimation based up on the Average High Cost Multiple, may not have enough in the fund yet to withstand another major recession.