Fla jobless rate highest in 33 yearsby Dara Kam | March 27th, 2009
Florida’s seasonably adjusted unemployment rate was 9.4 percent in February, up from 8.8 percent in January, according to the Agency for Workforce Innovation.
That’s 1.3 percent higher than the national rate and 4.2 percent higher than a year ago.
About 500,000 Floridians currently receive unemployment benefits.
St. Lucie County’s unemployment rate climbed to 12.7 percent, nearly double from the previous year.
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GOP state lawmakers are at odds over whether to accept $444 million in federal stimulus funds that would expand the number of unemployed workers eligible for unemployment benefits.
House Majority Leader Adam Hasner of Delray Beach worries that expanding the benefits will increase unemployment insurance taxes on businesses, whose taxes will already spike next year because so many workers have been laid off.
The trust fund supported by the taxes that the businesses pay is scheduled to run out of money by August, forcing the taxes to go up.
Senate Republicans and Gov. Charlie Crist want to take the money, which would extend benefits to at least 25,000 more workers.
Crist yesterday encouraged the House to reconsider they’re position.