DEO Deputy Secretary: Florida expected to return to pre-pandemic employment level in 2 to 3 months

by | Jan 11, 2022


The state of Florida is expected to return to its pre-pandemic employment levels within the next 2 to 3 months, according to Adrienne Johnson, Deputy Secretary of the Division of Workforce Services at Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

Speaking at the 2022 Florida Chamber of Commerce Legislative Fly-In, Florida Chamber Executive Vice President David Gillespie discussed Johnson’s economic synopsis at large, focusing on the future of Florida and the state’s job growth through 2030.

“Since the onset of the pandemic, and how Florida’s unemployment rate initially climbed to a record 14.2 percent at the onset of COVID-19, the unemployment rate of Florida has decreased now to 4.2 percent as of November of last year [2021], said Gillespie. “While the unemployment levels have returned to normal levels, she also explained how the labor force has expanded over the past 13 months, adding 621,000 people since October of 2020.”

Florida now boasts a labor force comprised of 10.6 million people, resulting in a labor force growth rate of 6.0 percent, compared to just 0.9 percent nationally.  Florida has also recovered over 90 percent of jobs lost due to the pandemic, seeing 4 consecutive quarters of GDP growth of at least 3.7 percent, outpacing the national GDP increase in each of those financial quarters.

The Sunshine State is also receiving a population boom through the means of domestic migration. Florida led the nation in the number of people moving to a single state from another in the United States, registering over 220,000 new residents.

Florida’s economy was able to recover at a much faster rate than other states due to the state government’s pragmatic and tempered response to COVID-19, according to Mark Vitner, Managing Director of Wells Fargo’s corporate bank, who also expects strong economic growth through 2022.

“Despite Covid and the onset of the Omicron variant that has slowed our economic growth through the beginning of the calendar year, that we should still expect strong growth with real GDP rising by about 4 percent.”

Florida’s unemployment rate continued to decrease to 3.9 percent in December, which is down from the aforementioned 4.2 percent figure from November of 2021, helping the state become the 15th largest economy in the world, carrying a GDP of $1.23 trillion.

Over the course of 2021, Floridians represented 1 in every 13 new jobs created nationwide, however, when the scale of that figure is decreased to the most recent fiscal quarter, Floridians occupy 1 in every 4 new job positions.

Florida Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Mark Wilson additionally pointed out Florida’s promotion of small business entrepreneurship.

“We had a 2030 goal of being the number one state for business start-ups in the country. The numbers came out recently and we are already the number one in the United States.” Wilson also showed that Florida is the nation’s leading state for income migration, netting $1.3 million per hour.

The money is moving largely from states like New York, New Jersey, and Illinois, which happen to be the leading states bleeding residents to Florida via domestic migration. Florida’s economy is at a relatively strong point compared to the rest of the nation, bolstered by the promotion of business and remaining open for business.

Legislative decisions to open Florida’s ports to shipping corporations as well as mitigating supply chain issues have broad liquid wealth into the state.

Lawmakers will attempt to bolster these efforts over the course of the 2022 Legislative Session, ensuring Florida’s status as one of the nation’s leading economies.


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