On Wednesday, Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said during a press conference that unemployed Floridians receiving unemployment benefits only have until the end of May to continue receiving them, without proving they are looking for work.
CBS Miami reported that DeSantis said that now that Florida is reopened there are ample opportunities for Floridians to find employment, and residents who are able to work need to do so.
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DeSantis said, “Normally when you’re getting unemployment, the whole idea is that it’s temporary, and you need to be looking for work to be able to get off unemployment.”
“It was a disaster, so we suspended those job search requirements,” the governor added. “I think it’s pretty clear now — we have an abundance of job openings.”
During the pandemic, DeSantis had suspended the requirement that people prove they are actively looking for work while they receive unemployment.
The requirement will be back in place in the near future.
“We absolutely can put more people to work,” DeSantis continued. “The demand is there. Businesses want to hire more people, and I think we can go in that direction very soon.”
According to the Tampa Bay Times, Florida’s unemployment rate rose to a whopping 13.8% at the height of the lockdowns in April 2020.
According to the most recent numbers from the state’s Department of Economic Opportunity, that number has since dropped to 4.7% in March, which is below the national average.
DeSantis said on Wednesday, “I think now we’re in just a different situation, you have a surplus of jobs, particularly in restaurant, lodging, hospitality, that people want to hire.”
“I mean, you see the signs all over the place,” the governor added. “Look, that’s a good problem to have.”
DeSantis stressed that those who have trouble finding a job might indeed need assistance, but able-bodied people collecting benefits should be looking for work.
“But we also just want to make sure, like, look, if you’re really unemployed, can’t get a job, that’s one thing,” DeSantis stressed. “But making sure that you’re doing your due diligence to look for work, and making sure those incentives align, better.”
The Tampa Bay Times reported, “DeSantis continued to criticize the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about COVID-19 precautions that have idled the cruise-ship industry in Florida.”
“Also, he said some restaurants are closing one day a week because they don’t have enough employees,” the Times noted.
The report continued, “DeSantis somewhat dismissed the premise of a question about whether people were taking advantage of changes in the unemployment system. While Florida offers low state benefits, many unemployed people also have been eligible for federal jobless aid.”
“I don’t think it’s manipulation,” DeSantis said. “You know, whatever the benefits are, people are availing themselves of it. That’s not their fault.”
As DeSantis continues to receive praise from many for resisting harsh lockdowns compared to other Democrat-dominated states, the Republican governor’s star continues to rise in the Republican Party, including widespread speculation that he could be a top contender for the GOP’s 2024 presidential nomination, if former President Donald Trump does not run again.
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