Florida's workforce now has roughly half a million more workers than it did before the pandemic
Florida's economic boom pushed the Sunshine State above New York in the number of employed workers at the end of the year for the first time in 2022.
According to data released this week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for the month of December 2022, Florida had 9.669 million employed workers, compared to New York's 9.661 million. That marked the first time since the BLS began using this data set in 1982 that Florida's workforce was larger than New York's at the end of a year.
A spokesman for Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told FOX Business, "As Governor DeSantis said in his second inaugural speech, 'It is often said that our federalist constitutional system — with fifty states able to pursue their own unique policies — represents a laboratory of democracy.' Florida has exemplified the successful example of freedom, and our success is revealed in metrics like this."
In early 2020, prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, New York had about 9.8 million jobs to Florida's 9.1 million jobs, based on BLS data.
The two states' workforces were roughly equal in size from April to July 2020 while both were recovering jobs lost during the initial economic contraction due to pandemic restrictions.
By the fall of 2020, New York had recovered enough jobs to open a roughly 300,000-job gap between it and Florida.
But Florida began to narrow that gap to about 200,000 jobs by the start of 2021, and to 100,000 for most of 2022. By December, Florida surpassed the Empire State – albeit by a relatively narrow margin of fewer than 8,000 jobs – and ended the year with a larger workforce for the first time ever.
Last year also marked another milestone for Florida, as it reached 9.2 million jobs and the state's labor force was larger than it was prior to the pandemic. For comparison, New York's labor force was about 200,000 jobs below its pre-pandemic level in the December data from the BLS.
Florida's economic growth has been driven by an influx of new residents who have moved to the state in the past year.
Data released by the Census Bureau in December showed that Florida was America's fastest-growing state for the first time since 1957.
Florida's population grew by 416,754 residents, or 1.9%, from 2021 to 2022 to more than 22.2 million.
New York had the largest population decrease of all 50 states from 2021 to 2022, as it declined by 180,341 residents, or -0.9%, to about 19.6 million.