Florida ranks as one of the lowest-paying states in the nation in what it pays unemployed workers.
Whether you lose a $30,000-a-year job or one that pays six figures, your maximum unemployment compensation breaks out to $6.88 an hour — less than what most fast-food restaurant workers make in South Florida.
The state's $275 weekly maximum benefit hasn't changed in 10 years and is making the economic downturn more painful for Florida residents as more join the unemployment rolls each month.
In Massachusetts, unemployed workers collect up to $600 a week. In Georgia, they take home up to $440 a week.
"It was shocking," said Lochard "Shawn" Pamphile, 40, who collected Florida unemployment benefits after being laid off earlier this year. "In New York, I was getting $405 a week."
his wife, Vernetta, decided to move their family to South Florida in November 2006 after Pamphile was laid off by J.P. Morgan Chase in New York, where he had worked for 15 years. He found a job with the consumer products company Phillips, which had an office in Palm Beach Gardens. The couple bought a home in The Acreage. But in March, the company closed its South Florida office and moved workers to Boston.
Vernetta Pamphile found a job as a tax accountant and hopes to avoid again moving the couple's two sons, ages 4 and 11. Shawn Pamphile is pursuing an accounting degree at Palm Beach Community College while looking for a job.
Florida has lost more than 64,500 jobs since a year ago, many in construction and related industries, financial activities and manufacturing.