The Democratic candidate for the Florida gubernatorial race, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, claimed on September 30 that the state’s Republican Party praises their economy and unemployment rate that is built upon “low-wage work” and people working “two and three jobs just to make ends meet.”
Is the state’s high job occupancy due to low-wage work taking precedence?
Does Florida have a low unemployment rate because many residents work multiple jobs?
Speaking with CBS Miami on September 30, Gillum joined host Jim DeFede to speak on issues like marijuana legalization, health care, and the economy.
DeFede asked Gillum if he gives the current governor, Flordia Senate candidate Rick Scott, credit for Florida’s economic state, including its low unemployment rate.
“I give him credit for an economy that is largely propped up on low-wage work,” Gillum said. “Of course you’ve got a low unemployment rate when people got to work two and three jobs just to make ends meet.”
Watch the video below:
According to Politifact, Ron DeSantis, the Republican nominee for governor, responded to this claim by saying Gillum’s pants were “on fire.”
Well, is Gillum incorrect?
At 3.5 percent for September 2018, Florida’s unemployment rate is lower than the national average.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports that in the past 10 years, the number of Americans working multiple jobs has stayed between 4.7 and 5.2 percent, and according to data, Florida’s multiple job rate does not deviate from this trend.
Sean Snaith, the director of the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Economic Competitiveness, told Politifact that the data about people who hold two or more jobs is too generalized to say why someone may hold multiple employments.
The unemployment rate does not take into account the number of jobs people hold, just whether they have a job at all.
“You can have multiple jobs even if your primary job is high-paying,” Snaith explained.
Snaith added that the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ unemployment rate counts people employed, not job occupied. As long as a resident has one job, they will count as someone employed and won’t get counted again if they get a second or third job.
“The claim about multiple jobs and unemployment is simply not true,” Snaith said.
Fact or Fiction
Gillum’s claim that Florida’s unemployment is so low because people work multiple jobs is a mischaracterization of how the rate is calculated.
Labor statistics count people employed, not jobs filled, when they’re calculating the unemployment rate, meaning each person employed only counts once. Additionally, the data is not specific enough to determine whether these multiple jobs are low-paying.
We rate Gillum’s claims as fiction.