Andrew Gillum's claim that Florida's economy is propped up by low-wage jobs is 'half true'


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In a Sept. 30 interview with CBS Miami's "Facing South Florida," Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum was asked whether or not he gives Gov. Rick Scott credit for the economy.

Gillum's answered, "I give him credit for an economy that is largely propped up on low-wage work. Of course you've got a low unemployment rate when people have to work two and three jobs just to make ends meet."

That statement, however, isn't necessarily the whole truth, according to Politifact, a nonprofit project operated by the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg. It's actually only "half true," Politifact claims.

Yeah, Florida has a surplus of low-wage workers. Moody's Analytics senior economist Kwame Donaldson confirmed as much to Politifact by pointing out how the Sunshine State has a higher percentage of folks working such positions – 36 percent in Florida compared to 33 percent nationwide. That means the state is ranked 26th among all states for low-wage jobs.

According to the 2017 State of Working Florida report from Florida International University, in 2016, one in five Floridians were paid $10 or less an hour. That same provide also staters how Florida lags the national trend of rising median wages, in that the state's 2016 median wage of $16.03 an hour was the lowest in 11 years.

From Politifact:
"If Gillum’s point is that this situation has gotten worse under Gov. Scott, then there is evidence in support of this claim," Donaldson said. "The share of low-wage jobs in Florida has grown by 2 percentage points over the last eight years, the 10th-sharpest increase in the nation."

In an email, Gillum’s campaign pointed to an article from the Gainesville Sun that highlighted the increase in low-wage jobs since the recession, indeed making that point.

Low-wage jobs have accounted for nearly one in every two jobs created in Florida between 2005 and 2016, according to the 2017 State of Working Florida report. More than 392,000 of the 883,000 jobs created during this time paid $10 or less an hour.

As to Gillum’s claim, we found that some of Florida’s job growth has been in low-wage jobs and that the median wage level is the lowest in 11 years. However, there has been job growth in higher-paying jobs as well, and Florida is ranked 26th in low-wage jobs compared to other states.

Politifact says "additional context is needed" for Gillum's claim.

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