The race for Florida’s governor is heating up and Rick Scott’s campaign is continuing to dump millions of dollars to try and rebrand the Big Business Governor as the champion of jobs and lowering unemployment for Florida’s Working Families. However, Rick has conveniently left out some important facts about unemployment that show he’s been fudging the numbers to make his jobs plan look like a success, when in reality it slowed Florida’s economic recovery.
Here are 5 facts about unemployment Rick doesn’t want you to know:
- Florida’s unemployment rate of 6.2 percent in June 2014 exceeded the national rate of 6.1 percent[i] and ranked 29th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia.[ii]
- Over the 12-month period ending March 31, 2014, Florida’s unemployment insurance program paid an average weekly benefit of $228.51 – which ranked 52nd, the lowest among all the states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. That payment replaced 27.6 percent of workers’ average weekly wage, 44th in the nation. Florida’s “exhaustion rate” – the percentage of recipients who drew their final unemployment payment – was 66.2 percent, the highest in the U.S.[iii]
- Florida’s maximum weekly unemployment insurance payment, $275, is lower than all but four other states.[iv]
- Because of restrictive unemployment insurance laws enacted by the Florida Legislature in 2011, only 17 percent of new unemployed insurance applicants actually received benefit payments – 52nd, behind every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.[v]
- In 2011 the legislature adopted a formula that reduces the maximum number of weeks that benefits can be received from an automatic 26 to 23 with a loss of a week for each .5 percent that statewide unemployment drops. The maximum number of weeks currently is 16, ranking the state 50th among the states and the District of Columbia.[vi]
Why are these numbers so damaging? While Florida’s Working Families were struggling through the worst economic recession in history, Rick Scott cut the essential lifeline that so many workers without jobs and so many struggling businesses without customers, depended on to survive. When every $1 in unemployment compensation spent generates $1.63 in economic activity, it’s not hard to see how much was lost.
Who wins? Big Business. Rick Scott supported cuts that resulted in short-term handouts for big businesses during a recession, rather than investing in long-term security for Florida’s economy and working families struggling to make ends meet.
This begs the question: “Who does Rick really work for?” Answer: Not Working Families.
Stay tuned to www.fightforflorida.com every week for another installment of “Who Does Rick Really For Work?”
[iii] UI Data Summary for Florida, Unemployment Insurance Data Summary, U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. http://ows.doleta.gov/unemploy/content/data_stats/datasum14/DataSum_2014_1.pdf
[iv] Significant Provisions of State Unemployment Insurance Laws Effective January 2014, Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor.
[v] UI Data Summary for Florida, Unemployment Insurance Data Summary, U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. http://ows.doleta.gov/unemploy/content/data_stats/datasum14/DataSum_2014_1.pdf