As unemployment in Florida rises and residents in Putnam County look to file their claims, a local temp agency is helping people through the process.
CareerSource Northeast Florida is giving out copies of the necessary paperwork at the front door of its Putnam County office, located at the Palatka Mall. The center is currently closed to the public because of the coronavirus pandemic but is still offering all of its services online.
The applications are printed in different languages and with an envelope addressed to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the governmental entity that handles unemployment claims.
“About 80% of the calls to our center have been about the unemployment system,” said Candace Moody, CareerSource Northeast Florida vice president of communications. “It’s no secret that the system has been overwhelmed with the amount of applications.”
According to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, there have been 1,701,138 re-employment assistance claims filed since March 15. The department said the state has only paid 108,216 of those claims, totaling $143,275,046, as of Tuesday evening.
Florida’s high number of applications is reflected in Putnam County’s current unemployment rate.
According to the Department of Economic Opportunity, Putnam County’s unemployment rate grew to 6% in March, which is a slight increase from the 4.3% unemployment rate in February.
Brian Bergen, Putnam County Chamber of Commerce vice president of economic development, said he hopes the unemployment rate doesn’t continue to rise during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Behind every one of those numbers is a family or a person,” Bergen said. “They’re not just numbers and that’s how we try to look at those.”
Despite the increase in unemployment, Moody said some local businesses are still hiring.
According to Moody, CareerSource Northeast Florida continues to match clients in Putnam County with new positions. She said the agency publishes new job opportunities on its website and offers personalized career advice online.
“We’re hoping that as soon as we get it all cleared for our staff to come back to work, we’ll be able to help companies connect with the people they need to start running again,” Moody said.
For more information, call 329-3724 or visit careersourcenortheastflorida.com.