DeSantis Touts Florida's 40-Month, Lower-Than-the-Nation Unemployment Rate

DeSantis Touts Florida's 40-Month, Lower-Than-the-Nation Unemployment Rate

Florida has reached a 40-month-long, lower-than-the-nation unemployment rate

Liv Caputo
Liv Caputo
March 22, 2024

TALLAHASSEE, FL—The Sunshine State announced an economic milestone Friday morning, highlighting that Florida's unemployment rate has been lower than the national rate for 40 consecutive months, though staffing shortages still remain.

“Florida continues to outperform the nation,” Governor Ron DeSantis said.“We have proven that bold, conservative leadership across the board produces booming economic results—more jobs, lower taxes, less regulation, and fiscal security.”

In February, the national unemployment rate stood at 3.9 percent, with Florida standing at 3.1 percent. Outperforming the nation by 0.8 percentage points, Florida has the 16th lowest unemployment rate in the nation.

In a similar trend, the nation's private sector job growth rate increased by 1.6 percent compared to Florida's 2.3 percent—or 194,200 more jobs.

“Under Governor DeSantis’ leadership, Florida continues to provide an economy for our residents that is primed for opportunity and secure for future growth,” said J. Alex Kelly, Florida Secretary of Commerce. “Florida’s strong talent pipeline and skilled workforce are the building blocks of Florida’s economic growth and stability. February’s economic data is more absolute evidence that Florida is on the right path.”

However, questions still remain. Though Florida's education and health services sector gained the most jobs—at 57,500 over the year—the state still faces an increasing staffing shortage in both of these fields.

Though it's disputed by state officials, an Annenberg Study and the Florida Education Association report that Florida has the highest teacher vacancies in the nation, with an estimated 5,000 to 7,500 vacancies as of January.

By 2035, the Florida Medical Association reports that the Sunshine State will have a shortage of 17,924 physicians, 5,974 traditional primary care specialists, 1,519 emergency room physicians, 1,434 hospitalists, 1,230 psychiatrists, and 737 infectious disease specialists, among others, and as of 2021, 92% of Florida nursing centers faced staffing issues.

To address the medical shortage, lawmakers have taken action. Just yesterday, DeSantis signed a sweeping healthcare package allocating $767 million to improve the state's healthcare workforce.

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Liv Caputo

Liv Caputo

Livia Caputo is a senior at Florida State University, working on a major in Criminology, and a triple minor in Psychology, Communications, and German. She has been working on a journalism career for the past year, and hopes to become a successful reporter after graduation. Her work has been cited in Fox News, the New York Post, and the Daily Mail

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