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Jax Daily Record Thursday, May 14, 202008:54 AM EST

More Northeast Florida layoffs as unemployment claims rise

Harte Hanks, Enterprise Holdings, Renaissance St. Augustine Resort and Sheraton Jacksonville post notices with the state.
by: Mark Basch Contributing Writer

After dropping the previous two weeks, new claims for unemployment insurance by Floridians rose again while several Northeast Florida businesses filed notices of layoffs.

The number of new unemployment claims in Florida rose to 221,905 in the week ending May 9, from 174,860 the previous week, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Weekly claims by Floridians are down from the peak of 506,670 in the week ended April 18, but claims have averaged nearly 250,000 a week for the past eight weeks.

In the first 11 weeks of 2020, before large numbers of businesses shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, weekly claims averaged about 5,500.

More Northeast Florida businesses are filing notices under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of permanent and temporary layoffs, as the impact of the pandemic affects operations.

The most recent added to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s WARN website include Harte Hanks Direct Marketing/Jacksonville LLC, which said it is closing its facility at 7498 Fullerton St.

The closure will result in the permanent loss of 63 jobs beginning on June 30, Harte Hanks said in its WARN letter.

Also this week, a notification by rental car company Enterprise Holdings said it is cutting 164 jobs at its administrative office at 11034 Atlantic Blvd.

“It was Enterprise’s belief the downturn would last approximately one month,” Enterprise said in its WARN notice.

However, the permanent layoffs were necessary because of a “dramatic downturn” in business as it became clear the economic shutdown would last much longer, it said.

Two Northeast Florida hotels posted WARN notices of layoffs it hopes will be temporary.

The Renaissance St. Augustine Resort at 500 S. Legacy Trail in St. Augustine furloughed 163 employees and the Sheraton Jacksonville Hotel at 10605 Deerwood Park Blvd. laid off 59.

“At this time, we anticipate that the mass layoff will be temporary but we are unable to predict when there will be recalls and, if so, how much of the workforce will be recalled,” the Sheraton’s notice said.

Other WARN notices posted this week include one by Gate Hospitality Group of 141 permanent job cuts and 735 temporary furloughs at four area properties.

Autobahn Indoor Speedway laid off 62 employees and Beaver Chevrolet Inc. laid off up to 23 staff members in Jacksonville, according to WARN filings posted this week.

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