Florida Is Successfully Putting People Back To Work

Hiring Gains Drop Unemployment Rate To 7.7 Percent

Photo: Getty Images North America

We did it without the cruise industry. We did it with limited capacity on airlines and theme parks. We did it with the most vulnerable population demographically for COVID-19 in the country. What Florida did was have the 4th fastest recovery in unemployment in the country from the peak of the pandemic until today.

Of course, the best way to recover is to not needlessly lose jobs in the first place and Florida’s quick course correction in May of last year to not remain locked down has been critical to what’s happened since. Despite Florida’s unemployment rate topping the national average at 14.2% in May of last year, we haven’t looked back since. 

In terms of total unemployment claims top to bottom only New Hampshire, South Carolina, and South Dakota sent more of their unemployed workers back to work faster than Florida. Florida’s the top large state by a margin and it’s that much more incredible when you consider that travel is only at 75% of pre-pandemic levels and the cruise industry is still offline. Which gives you an incredible view of the future once we’re fully back. Even Florida’s slight uptick in the unemployment rate to 4.9% in May is endemic of putting people back to work. 

Governor DeSantis’ decision to end the extended federal unemployment benefits at the end of this week was shown to have lured the laziest Floridians, the ones intentionally sitting on unemployment, back into the workforce in addition to those who’d become discouraged and left the workforce. In other words, even Florida’s somewhat bad-looking unemployment news is generally good news. There are currently 503,000 Floridians out of work and there are 500,000 job openings.

South Florida's location has proven to be key. Miami-Dade has the state’s highest unemployment rate while Palm Beach County is well lower than average. With the reopening of Port Everglades and Port Miami for cruises next month and the resumption of live entertainment, there’s reason to think we can make a serious dent in those unemployment rates over the next few months.

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