ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Attempts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 across Florida has significantly shaken the job market across the state.

Unemployment applications have shot through the roof.

For the week ending on March 14, Florida received 6,463 applications for reemployment assistance.

The next week, numbers continued to rise. For the week ending on March 21, Florida received 74,313 applications for reemployment assistance.

And for this current week, ending on March 28, Florida has already 103,298 applications for reemployment assistance.

All of the applications mean the unemployment benefits website is experiencing unprecedented web traffic.

"It's a complete total increase, so our website is moving slow, we know that. Every day we are adding service capacity. We are making enhancements every single night," said Tiffany Vause, the director of communications for the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

Part of those enhancements includes hiring more employees for the call center, increasing the hours of the call center to include weekends, and moving people from other departments to reemployment assistance. Additionally, DEO said they are adding servers to increase the website's capacity on a regular basis.

With high volumes, Vause said the best way to apply is online with all of your needed documentation. 

"Making sure you have all of that information right there when you're sitting down to apply. So you don't have to potentially get kicked out of the system when you are looking for your old employment history, your driver's license, your social security number."

A few other tips include what browser to use and when to try logging on. 

Use Internet Explorer. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity said their website will run smoother on that browser.

Also, try to apply during non-peak hours like early in the morning or late at night.

It still might take you some time to get in, and the DEO said they are going to be flexible.

"You want to apply as soon as possible, and start applying your weeks. But we understand that there are a lot of people trying to get into our system right now. So we are going to be flexible and we are going to help walk you through and take you step by step," said Vause.

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