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Understanding Florida's Economy: What Job Data Shows

analysis economy florida jobs layoffs unemployment Feb 11, 2024
Understanding Florida's Economy

We can agree that the economy is important, right?

A good economy means lots of opportunity and growth. πŸ‘

Unfortunately, we usually only get national updates on the economy.

For example, you are likely seeing headlines about job cuts and layoffs nationally. πŸ˜±

This doesn't help us understand our local markets.

It's not easy to tell which markets the layoffs will affect on the surface.

We need to zoom in a bit to see how things are in our part of the country. πŸ”

This week, let's take a look at a local indicator to check up on Florida's economy.


How's Florida's Economy?

First, take a look at the top chart and you'll see the weekly total of first-time unemployment claims in Florida.

These are people who don't have severance and just lost their job.

In general, a higher number of claims is a bad sign for the economy. 😲

Using the long-term average of claims in the state, we can see that we're still well below the danger zone.

We're more than 25% below the long-term average which signals a strong job market and relatively robust economy in the state. 😎

Second, I've compared the initial claims in Florida to the national numbers.

These are also well below the long-term average.

Interestingly, there has been a tick up nationally, while Florida has remained more stable. πŸ€”


Finding Opportunity  

There are two great ways to get context on anything:

  1. πŸ“ Get the long-term average for your stat and see how today's values stack up to historical norms.
  2. πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ Compare a local stat to the national average.

We used both of these to help us today get a good idea of how the economy is doing (according to the job market).

Here are some takeaways from this information:

  • There's headlines about layoffs, but Florida may be insulated from the damage. Because employees get severance packages, they can't file for unemployment until those run out. This can create a delay between the layoffs and it showing up in the numbers here. While we should always be cautious, the data isn't showing any major issues. 

  • It's not clear if job losses cause a recession or the other way around.  People have their opinions, but we can't say for sure if a recession happens before or after lots of people lose their jobs. In general, until we start to see above average jobless claims, we should remain confident and avoid the slippery slope of what if, fearful thinking.

  • We need to pay attention to who's losing their job and in what industry. As in the tech bubble burst of 2000, sometimes we can have big job losses that only affect a few industries. Should initial claims rise, we'll dig into the details to see which industries are impacted the most.

So, if you or a client is concerned about the economy and if they should make a move, this is one way to measure how things are going.

βœ… It's objective, includes context, and local to our economy here in Florida.

So far, the sunshine state continues to perform at a high level! πŸš€

Dr. Alex Stewart


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