Florida registered just 3,730 jobless claims for the week ending on March 5, marking the third consecutive week in which the state accounted for fewer than 4,000 first-time unemployment claims. This is the first time since at least 2006 that Florida has recorded three consecutive weeks below 4,000 claims, and comes just days after the U.S. Department of Labor announced Florida’s unemployment rate of 3.5 percent.
In the timeframe between January 2021 and January of this year, Florida’s unemployment rate decreased by 2.5 percentage points, placing The Sunshine State near the top of the list of states with the lowest unemployment rates, only trailing the likes of Alabama, Vermont, and New Hampshire. Florida has outpaced the nation as a whole in job reports for 14 consecutive months, reflecting a strong economy and swift return to pre-pandemic output.
“Florida’s January 2022 numbers and the U.S. Department of Labor’s updated data for 2021 demonstrate that Florida continues to have a robust economic climate where individual Floridians have opportunities to get ahead – even in the face of inflationary federal policies that are causing the price of virtually everything to spike,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Florida has surpassed 2019 numbers in almost every regard, including employment and labor force participation while lockdown states continue to lag.”
The state’s total private sector employment increased by 23,900 jobs in January 2022, which is an increase of 0.3 percent over the month. In January 2022, total private sector employment increased by 496,700 jobs (6.6 percent) over the year. The national over-the-year rate of increase was 5.2 percent in January 2022.
Monroe County had the state’s lowest unemployment rate in January (2.3 percent), followed by St. John’s County (2.6 percent), Wakulla County (2.8 percent), and Okaloosa County (2.8 percent), while Putnam County had the highest rate (5.1 percent), followed by Hamilton County (5.1 percent), Citrus County (4.7 percent).
Retroactive employment highlights include Florida’s unemployment rate topping the national average by a range of 0.4 percent to 1.1 percent from December 2020 through January 2022. Florida’s unemployment rate has additionally held steady or declined for 18 consecutive months.
Florida reached the pre-pandemic job growth rate in October 2021, and now has 124,700 more private-sector jobs than February 2020, or 101.6% of the pre-pandemic level. Florida reached pre-pandemic labor force levels in June 2021 and now has 154,000 more Floridians in the workforce than February 2020, or 101.5% of the pre-pandemic level. Florida employers have maintained or added jobs for 21 consecutive months since May 2020.
“Thanks to Governor DeSantis’ relentless freedom first economic policies and no excuses approach, Florida is the best place for businesses and families to grow their footprints,” said DEO Secretary Dane Eagle. “DEO will continue to work hand-in-hand with its partners to create innovative and valuable opportunities for Floridians and their communities.”