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Florida Unemployment Rate Remains At 2.6% While National Rate Increases As Red States Continue To Outperform Blue States

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Ron DeSantis

On Friday, Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced that his state’s economy continues to flourish as its unemployment rate remained at 2.6 percent while the national rate increased to 3.6 percent. The news follows a pattern of Republican-led states performing better economically than Democrat-led states in recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Florida’s economy continues to be number one in new business formations while growing our labor force and creating jobs faster than the national rate,” said DeSantis. “As the federal government continues to flounder on key issues like inflation, Florida will continue to get the fundamentals right.”

According to a press release from DeSantis’ office, “Florida’s unemployment rate has decreased by 0.7 of a percentage point over the year and has remained lower than the nation for 28 consecutive months since November 2020. In February 2023, Florida’s private sector employment grew by 5.0 percent (406,600 jobs) over the year. Between February 2022 and February 2023, Florida’s labor force grew by 247,000 (2.3 percent), which is faster than the national labor force growth rate of 1.5 percent during the same time period.”

“Florida’s private sector employment increased by 0.4 percent over the month (+34,800 jobs) in February 2023, faster than the national rate by 0.2 percentage point over the month and 2.0 percentage points over the year. In February 2023, Florida employers have added jobs for 33 months since May 2020, with the exception of October 2022. Florida’s over-the-year private sector job growth rate has exceeded the nations’ job growth rate for 23 consecutive months since April 2021,” the press release added.

The news is another example of Republican-led states outperforming Democrat-led states in recovering from the pandemic. According to an analysis from The Wall Street Journal from last summer, Republican-led states – or “red states” – are “winning” the economic recovery by multiple measures. In comparison, many Democrat-led states – or “blue states” – are still in a worse economic position than before the pandemic. Nearly a year later, that data remains true.

“Since February 2020, the month before the pandemic began, the share of all U.S. jobs located in red states has grown by more than half a percentage point, according to an analysis of Labor Department data by the Brookings Institution think tank. Red states have added 341,000 jobs over that time, while blue states were still short 1.3 million jobs as of May,” The Wall Street Journal reported at the time.

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