Florida jobs, unemployment report week ending Jan. 16, 2021

There may be a break in the rising trend of severe coronavirus cases, new data show — but the economic toll of the pandemic shows no sign of abating.

Florida saw 26,599 new applications for unemployment assistance for the week ending Jan. 16, the U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday. That was down from the 30,583 seen the week before. The state’s count of continuing claims, or among those who’ve filed for unemployment for at least two weeks, fell slightly, from 174,544 to 169,837.

But the U.S. added another 900,000 new unemployment filers, the Department said Thursday, a decrease of just 26,000 from one week earlier — more evidence that the country continues to see waves of layoffs.

The data comes despite a new report from Goldman Sachs showing hospitalizations in the U.S. have begun to meaningfully decrease as vaccinations ramp up.

Hospitalizations have now remained at or below 130,000 for most of the month of January, Goldman said in a note to clients Thursday.

But Thursday’s labor data signals a job market that continues to prove anemic, and that the net loss of jobs seen in December’s U.S. jobs report may likely be repeated in January.

“There was a boomlet of pandemic-induced layoffs in December that is adding new strains on the economy and the unemployment system,” Andrew Stettner, senior fellow at The Century Foundation, a nonpartisan think tank, said in a statement.

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Rob Wile covers business, tech, and the economy in South Florida. He is a graduate of Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism and Columbia University. He grew up in Chicago.