DeSantis: Unemployed Floridians Will Have to Start Looking for Work Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to the media about the cruise industry during a press conference at PortMiami on April 08, 2021, in Miami, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
By Jeffrey Rodack | Friday, 07 May 2021 08:30 AM
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is set to reinstate a requirement for those receiving unemployment benefits in the state to prove they’re looking for work.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, DeSantis a Republican, said those claiming benefits will likely have to start showing proof they looked for a work when an executive order waiving a job-search requirement ends on May 29.
Without the waiver, the state required people receiving benefits to reach out to five prospective employers each week, the newspaper said.
"We suspended that (requirement) last year at this time because, quite frankly, there weren’t jobs," 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. Look, that’s a good problem to have. But we also just want to make sure, like, look, if you’re really unemployed, can’t get a job, that’s one thing. But making sure that you’re doing your due diligence to look for work, and making sure those incentives align, better."
And WTSP in Tampa quoted the governor as saying: "Normally when you're getting unemployment, the whole idea is that it's temporary and you need to be looking for work in order to be able to get off of unemployment and obviously work because that's what we want everyone to do. Well, when COVID hit, it was a disaster, so we suspended those job search requirements.
"We absolutely could put more people to work, the demand is there, businesses want to hire more people and I think we'll be able to go in that direction very soon."
The Times noted that Florida’s unemployment rate was 4.7% in March compared to 13.8% in April 2020 when the pandemic forced many business to close.
Under President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion rescue package the government is supplementing weekly jobless benefits by $300 a week. The figure is in addition to the average state unemployment payment of about $340.
Larry Kudlow, who served as top economic adviser under former President Donald Trump, has said that Biden's economic relief package discourages some people from trying to find work.
During an interview on Fox News, Kudlow maintained a lot of economists on both side of the aisle believe "the more unemployment insurance you poke out, the more unemployment you're going to have. And, secondly, the longer the unemployment insurance lasts, then the longer unemployment is going to last."
And Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., wants to know what the Labor Department is doing to combat and detect fraud and abuse of enhanced federal unemployment benefits.
He made his request in a Wednesday letter to Larry Turner, acting inspector general for the Labor Department.