Q&A – Is Florida’s Economy Better Than Before The Pandemic?

West Palm Beach, Florida, Exterior View

Photo: Photo by: Getty Images

Today’s entry: If Florida’s unemployment rate is still higher than before the pandemic, how can Florida’s economy be better? 

Bottom Line: Today’s note is on back of the story I shared with you highlighting the most recent edition of the CNN and Moody’s Analytics Back-to-Normal Index. The index provides a weekly update on every state’s economy, showed something remarkable this week. Two states now have economies that haven’t just recovered to where they were prior to the pandemic, they’ve exceeded where their economies were.

Those two states, North Dakota and Florida. Florida’s economy is now at 101%. This compares to a national average of 91%. In other words, Florida’s economy is 11% better than the national average and 32% better than New York’s, the state with the weakest economy. 

But how can Florida’s economy be better off today than prior to the pandemic if unemployment is higher? Well, there are 37 total economic metrics used by Moody’s in calculating these results. Seven are specific to the individual state. Clearly, employment rates are important but they’re far from the only barometer of an economy’s overall performance. But even within Florida’s employment picture, there’s a good storyline compared to the 1st quarter of 2020. Florida’s unemployment rate was at a record low of 2.8% in February of 2020. Most recently the rate stood at 4.8% but while Florida’s unemployment rate is higher than prior to the pandemic, earnings aren’t. 

Florida’s current average hourly wage is $28.99. In February of 2020, the average wage was $27.93. So while the unemployment rate is 2% higher and average earnings are 4% higher. The increase in earnings has the potential to compensate for the decrease in employment. This is why it’s been key that salaries didn’t collapse during the pandemic-induced recession. Additionally, it’s clear that as people begin to meaningfully travel once again, Florida’s at the top of the list of where people are going. It’s probably not a coincidence that this week, after the effects of Memorial Day travel, was the week we exceeded pre-pandemic economic conditions. 

It is remarkable in context, especially when you consider a key industry like the cruise industry, isn’t even operational. That provides an additional view of the possible for Florida’s economy once it’s fully up and running again. 

Each day I feature a listener question sent by one of these methods. 


Parler & Twitter:@brianmuddradio 

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content