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Covid-19 job losses hit home in St. Petersburg

Margie Manning



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As Covid-19 takes a toll on the job market, a St. Petersburg-based hotel company is the first local business to officially report layoffs to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

Marina Beach Associates Inc., which does business as Magnuson Hotel Marina Cove, said in a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notice that it was furloughing 55 employees effective March 25.

The company, at 6800 Sunshine Skyway Lane, cited “extreme business conditions” in the notice. It said further furloughs may be necessary in the future, although it also said the planned action is expected to be temporary.

Even before the March 21 Magnuson WARN notice, more than 74,000 Floridians filed initial unemployment claims in the week ending March 21, a more than 1,000 percent increase from a week earlier.

The increase in claims in Florida and every other state was due to the impacts of the Covid-19 coronavirus, the U.S. Department of Labor said in a news release.

Nationally, there were nearly 3.3 million seasonally adjusted initial claims, an increase of 3 million from the previous week’s revised level. This marks the highest level of seasonally adjusted initial claims in the history of the seasonally adjusted series. The previous high was 695,000 in October of 1982, the Labor Department said.

Services industries, particularly accommodation and food services, were the hardest hit sector, as many states, including Florida, ordered restaurants to stop on-premise dining and only offer take-out or delivery, and as travel dropped dramatically when people were urged to stay at home.

Additional industries most heavily impacted included the health care and social assistance, arts, entertainment and recreation, transportation and warehousing, and manufacturing industries, the Labor Department said.

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