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Florida Unemployment Rate Drops To 2.5% As Red States’ Economies Continue To Outperform Blue States

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Ron DeSantis

On Friday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced that his state’s unemployment rate dropped to 2.5 percent in December, far below the national average. The news follows the pattern of Republican-led states outperforming Democrat-led states in economically recovering from the pandemic. 

“Florida continues to outpace the nation and withstand negative headwinds due to federal policy,” DeSantis said. “I look forward to building off our success with record tax relief in the upcoming legislative session.”

As explained in a press release from DeSantis’ office, Florida’s unemployment rate in December was “2.5 percent, 0.1 percentage point lower than the previous month’s rate and 1.0 percentage point lower than the national rate of 3.5 percent.”

“Florida’s statewide unemployment rate has been lower than the national rate for 25 consecutive months since December 2020,” the press release continued. “Between December 2021 and December 2022, Florida’s labor force grew by 361,000, or 3.5 percent. This was faster than the national labor force growth rate of 1.6 percent over the year.”

“Between December 2021 and December 2022, total private sector employment grew by 425,800 jobs (+5.3 percent), faster than the national private sector job growth rate of 3.3 percent over the year,” the press release added. “As of December 2022, Florida employers have added jobs for 32 consecutive months since May 2020. Florida’s private sector over-the-year job growth rate has exceeded the nation’s for 21 consecutive months since April 2021.”

The news is another example of the success that the economies of Republican-led states have experienced in recovering from the pandemic. According to an analysis from The Wall Street Journal over the 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.

“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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