Q&A – How Florida Has Balanced The Economy And Public Health

Minority Leader McCarthy And Florida Gov. De Santis Hold Press Conference On Cuba

Photo: Getty Images

Today’s entry: I’d like to know how Florida’s economy compares to the country overall during the pandemic in addition to whatever states have had the best economy and the worst. If we compare that information to Covid outcomes we’d have a good assessment of our overall performance balancing our economy with public health concerns.

Bottom Line: The Florida Retail Federation indicated that Florida’s retailers are expecting a huge 10% sales increase during the holiday shopping season this year. Of course, sometimes huge sales increases can be misleading. Take the lockdown states during the pandemic for example. Many of them showed bigger economic growth percentages earlier this year than states like Florida, because of how shuttered their states were last year. Given that Florida’s economy was open for all but a few weeks last year, the projected double-digit growth in holiday sales is truly impressive. 

In breaking down our state’s economy we’ll start with how we fared last year. The US 2020 economic growth rate went down 3.5%. Florida’s 2020 economic growth rate declined 2.9%. Straight away you can tell Florida fared far better than most last year with a growth rate that was 0.6%, or 17%, better than the national average. 

Now, you wanted to know about the states with the worst and best economies. New York’s economy was the worst last year with a 5.9% decline while Utah had the best economy with a decline of only 0.1%. This is a classic case of stereotypes existing for a reason. New York is of course a blue state which enforced strict lockdown measures. Utah is a red state and generally remained open during the year. 

The Medical publication, Becker’s Hospital Review, ranked states based on how restrictive their pandemic policies were last year. Utah was the 7th least restrictive, while Florida was 8th. New York was the 39th most restrictive. In looking at this year’s economic performance, we only have state-by-state information through the first half of the year. The US economic growth rate went up 6.7% and Florida’s rate also went up 6.7%. So, Florida’s economy has matched US growth this year which is more impressive in the context given that Florida’s economy meaningfully outperformed the country’s last year.

You wanted a comparison of economic performance in relation to public health outcomes. Florida’s economy has been the 10th strongest since the onset of the pandemic. Likewise, Florida ranks 10th for population-adjusted COVID-19 cases during the pandemic. Given that Florida’s economy was projected to be the 2nd most negatively impacted at the onset of the pandemic due to our state’s reliance on tourism and entertainment, it’s rather remarkable that we’ve been one of the ten strongest performers.

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

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com

Gettr, Parler & Twitter: @brianmuddradio 

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