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By Romy Ellenbogen May 1, 2018

Is unemployment at a record low under Florida Gov. Rick Scott?

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce praised Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s economic achievements in an ad supporting his bid for U.S. Senate against Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson.

The 30-second ad knocks Nelson for voting against the 2017 tax cut bill while highlighting Scott’s efforts to cut taxes ("40 times!") and create jobs.

"Scott has cut red tape for better innovation, and our unemployment is at a record low," speakers say in the ad.

At 3.9 percent in March, Florida’s unemployment rate is at its lowest point since before Scott took office. But it is not at an all-time low.

The unemployment rate has been lower several times since 1976, right up to the burst of the housing bubble in 2007.

The ad cites a March Washington Examiner story. Headlined, "Four states hit record low unemployment in February," the article singles out California, Maine, Mississippi and Wisconsin as reaching record-low unemployment rates.

The story discussed Florida, the third-largest state, with a more qualified point: "It's not just small states. Texas is near record-low unemployment. Florida unemployment, at 3.9 percent, is near as low as it's ever been outside the years of the housing bubble."

We turned to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics to get a better understanding of Florida’s unemployment history.

Featured Fact-check

Florida’s unemployment rate has held at 3.9 percent since September 2017 through March 2018, the latest month for which we have data.

We confirmed that Florida’s unemployment rate has been lower than or equal to 3.9 percent several times in the last 20 years.

We counted 43 months from 1998 to 2018 with unemployment rates below 3.9 percent.

In late 1999 and early 2000, Florida’s unemployment was between 3.7 to 3.9 percent, based on seasonally adjusted data. From 2005 to 2007, Florida’s unemployment rate wavered between 3.1 to 3.9 percent.

The rate climbed to a peak of 11.3 percent in January 2010 before falling during the years of the national economic recovery.

Our ruling

A U.S. Chamber of Commerce ad said Florida’s unemployment is at a record low.

The rate is the lowest since April 2007, but it is not a record low. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the unemployment rate was lower multiple times between 1999 and 2007.

We rate this claim False.

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PolitiFact rating logo PolitiFact Rating:
Florida’s "unemployment is at a record low."
in an ad
Thursday, April 26, 2018

Our Sources

Timothy Ewing, Economist, Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 25, 2018

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Florida’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate, 1998-2018

YouTube, U.S. Chamber, FL Chamber Support Governor Rick Scott for Senate, April 24, 2018


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