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Weekly unemployment claims rise in Florida for the first time since June

Amid rising inflation and recession fears, Florida last week saw initial unemployment claims go up for the first time since early June.

The U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday estimated 6,961 first-time claims were filed in Florida during the week that ended July 9, up from a revised count of 6,155 during the week that ended July 2.

Nationally, the number of claims went up by 9,000, with an estimated 244,440 claims filed during the week that ended July 9.

The report came a day after the Labor Department said the consumer-price index was up 1.3% in June and 9.1% over the past 12 months.

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., issued a statement Thursday blaming President Joe Biden for “reckless spending” and a “war on American energy.”

The White House on Wednesday called inflation “unacceptably high” but said the figures were out of date.

“Energy alone comprised nearly half of the monthly increase in inflation,” Biden said in a statement. “Today’s (Wednesday’s) data does not reflect the full impact of nearly 30 days of decreases in gas prices, that have reduced the price at the pump by about 40 cents since mid-June.”

The Labor Department last week reported the national economy added 372,000 jobs in June, with the unemployment rate holding at 3.6% from May to June. Florida’s unemployment rate in May was 3%. The state Department of Economic Opportunity will release a June report on July 22.

Thursday’s report showed Florida unemployment claims increasing for the first time since numbers jumped from 5,796 claims during the week that ended June 4 to 7,035 the following week. Since then, the weekly counts had gradually gone down, running an average of 6,484 new claims a week the past four weeks.

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