FACT CHECK: Has Florida’s Unemployment Rate Remained At 2.8 Percent?

Christine Sellers | Fact Check Reporter

In a recent post shared on X, Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis claimed Florida’s unemployment rate has remained at 2.8%.

Verdict: True

Multiple sources, including data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and policy experts, place Florida’s unemployment rate at 2.8% for October 2023.

Fact Check:

Unemployment claims in Florida decreased from 6,268 (for the week ending on Nov. 18) to 3,817 (for the week ending on Nov. 25), according to the U.S. Labor Department, the Ocala StarBanner reported. In comparison, U.S. unemployment claims have recently increased to 218,000 from a previous 211,000, also over the course of one week, according to the outlet.

DeSantis claimed Florida’s unemployment has remained at 2.8% via the X post.

“Florida’s unemployment rate remains at a low 2.8% and we continue to see job growth month after month, bucking national trends. Florida is driving economic success through smart investments, and we will continue to lead the nation in economic strength,” DeSantis said.

The claim is true. A graph from Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity showing seasonally adjusted unemployment rates from January 1976 to October 2023 places Florida at an unemployment rate of 2.8% for October 2023 in comparison to a national rate of 3.9%. Data from the BLS examining the unemployment rate by state also places Florida at an unemployment rate of 2.8% for October 2023. The same data shows Florida is ranked eleventh in national unemployment rates alongside Maine, Massachusetts, and Montana, whose rates are also 2.8%.

Similarly, data from the BLS looking at workforce statistics for just Florida places the state at a 2.8% unemployment rate and a 59.8% labor force participation rate for October 2023. In addition, the data shows an employment-population ratio of 58.1% in Florida for October 2023.

The 2.8% unemployment rate was also highlighted in a Nov. 17 Florida Commerce press release about the state’s economic growth. According to the same release, Florida’s 2.8% unemployment rate is “more than a percentage point lower than the national rate of 3.9%.” Furthermore, October 2023 marks “the 36th consecutive month Florida’s unemployment rate has remained below the nation’s.” The state has added 2,500 jobs since September 2023, the release stated.

BLS data comparing the civilian labor force and unemployment in 2022 versus 2023 shows an unemployment rate of 2.7% (or 297,315) in Florida in October 2022 and a rate of 2.8% (or 318,027) in October 2023. BLS data examining Florida’s economy at a glance shows the unemployment rate remained at 2.8% from September 2023 to October 2023, despite a slight increase in the number of the state’s unemployed persons (309,000 in September 2023 versus 318,000 in October 2023).

An article from the Orlando-based outlet WFTV9 also noted that the 2.8% unemployment rate is equivalent to 318,000 unemployed persons.

Alternatively, the Osceola News-Gazette reported Florida’s unemployment rate increased to 2.8% from a previous rate of 2.7% during the first half of 2023, citing the Legislature’s Office of Economic & Demographic Research. (RELATED: Ro Khanna Claims Tax Cuts And Wars Are The Primary Reasons For National Debt Increase)

Florida’s statewide unemployment rate had previously dropped to 2.8% back in July 2022, according to a press release issued by DeSantis’ office during the same month.

Experts told Check Your Fact that the claim was accurate.

Marc Joffe, a federalism and state policy analyst at the Cato Institute, labeled DeSantis’ claim as “accurate” in an email to Check Your Fact.

“The claim is accurate and substantiated by this chart,” Joffe said, referencing the BLS data comparing the civilian labor force and unemployment in 2022 versus 2023.

David Ballard, associate director of economic policy at the Center for American Progress, also agreed that the claim is correct.

“In line with the historically strong labor market recovery seen across the country, Florida’s unemployment rate was 2.8% in October 2023, giving it the 11th lowest unemployment rate in the country, behind states like Maryland, Vermont, and Rhode Island. Nationwide, the unemployment rate also remains below 4 percent, extending by another month the longest period of sub-4 percent unemployment in over 50 years driven by the Biden Administration’s actions to strengthen the economy,” Ballard said.

DeSantis’ office, the BLS and the Brookings Institute all referred Check Your Fact to the data cited in this piece.

Christine Sellers

Fact Check Reporter