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Florida is outpacing the nation economically, seeing an increased rate of job growth of 0.7 percent — twice the national rate of increase — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced on Friday.
“In April alone, Florida added another 57,000 jobs,” the governor said during Friday’s presser. “That’s an increase of 0.7 percent, which is twice the rate of increase of the nation as a whole.”
According to the governor, Florida’s unemployment rate is now three percent, “which is far below the national average of 3.6 percent.” What is more, the Sunshine State’s unemployment rate has been lower than the national average for 17 months in a row, and the state has experienced 24 consecutive months of private-sector job growth.
“Our labor force grew by 30,000 people. The nation as a whole lost 363,000 people from the workforce,” the governor said. “As your workforce is expanding and your unemployment rate is dropping, that’s when you know that you have a lot of opportunities. If the workforce expands or contracts like it did nationally, you could have a decline in the unemployment, it doesn’t necessarily mean you know that you’re adding a robust amount of jobs.”
And so even as we were seeing the unemployment rate drop, that was as the labor force was growing in the state of Florida and that’s what you want to see. Now, some of what’s powering this is leisure and hospitality. When COVID hit, people were saying Florida was going to end up suffering, Florida and Hawaii, were going to be the two states that had the most significant economic damage because we were such a tourism-based state.
Many things were beyond the state’s control, he continued, including the halt on international travel.
“But I think what we did by setting the course to be a free state … when COVID hit, people were saying that this would take four or five years to be able to get to where we were pre-COVID in terms of our tourism numbers. In fact, between January and March of this year, we have 36 million visitors. That’s far above our 2019 levels,” he said, attributing the state’s success to the state remaining open and free.
“You’re not gonna get shaken down to produce medical papers at the front door of a restaurant. People don’t want to do that,” he said. “I mean honestly it’s just and I think the proof in the pudding on this is our market share of overseas travelers.”