Saturday, July 21, 2018
Columns

PolitiFact Florida: Gov. Rick Scott mostly fulfills promise to create 700,000 jobs in 7 years

Floridians following Rick Scott since his first campaign probably werenít surprised when the two-term Republican governor talked about jobs during his announcement to run for the U.S. Senate.

He described the years before his election in 2010, claiming that "this state had lost over 800,000 jobs in four years. We still had this beautiful weather, but we increased regulations, we increased taxes on people in this state. But we stopped it."

On April 9, he said, "weíve now, you, businesspeople, job creators, have added 1.5 million jobs, almost."

Scott made job creation a cornerstone of his two campaigns for governor and promised in 2010 to create 700,000 jobs in seven years through seven steps. Those job gains, he said, would be on top of nearly 1 million jobs economists predicted would be added to the state no matter who was elected governor.

With the seven-year benchmark behind us, we wondered how his promise ended up on our Scott-O-Meter.

In total, Florida added 1.49 million nonfarm jobs between the end of December 2010 and February 2018, the last month for which there is data, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. That number, which is seasonally adjusted, includes roughly 11,000 additional government jobs.

So at this point, Scott remains 200,000 jobs short of his goal. Technically, his seven-year cutoff for this promise ended in January, with a total of 1.47 million added jobs. That means he fulfilled 86 percent of his promised jobs.

That said, experts said itís possible the state could make that up by the time he leaves office.

"Itís going to be close," said Rollins College economics professor William Seyfried. "At the current trend, itís going to come up a little short."

Earlier in Scottís tenure, Florida was adding jobs at a quicker pace as the economy was recovering, Seyfried said. Now that the economy is in healthier shape, itís more difficult to add jobs at such a high rate.

These new jobs havenít been the highest-paying. Three industries that tend to offer lower wages accounted for 755,400 jobs: education and health services; trade, transportation and utilities (not including retail); and leisure and hospitality.

Thatís more than half of all the total jobs added. In contrast, the three industries with the highest weekly wages (manufacturing, financial activities and professional and business) accounted for roughly 480,000 jobs.

And what about Scottís role in all this? While Scott has been a cheerleader for jobs, experts credit the bulk of the recovery to factors outside of his purview, including stimulus money and federal reserve policies.

"The performance of the economy and the labor market is like an omelette," said Sean Snaith, University of Central Florida economist and director of the Institute for Economic Competitiveness. "Thereís a lot of ingredients that has led to whatís transpired."

Scott promised to create 700,000 jobs on top of the 1 million jobs that would already be created in seven years, but he finished 200,000 jobs short of that total. That said, his original promise is mostly fulfilled.

Thatís our definition of Promise Kept.

PolitiFact is tracking more than 70 promises made by Gov. Rick Scott. Keep up with the Scott-O-Meter at PolitiFact.com/florida. Contact Allison Graves at agraves@poynter.org. Follow @AllisonBGraves.

Comments
PolitiFact Florida: What Trumpís Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has said on abortion

PolitiFact Florida: What Trumpís Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has said on abortion

When President Donald Trump unveiled his second Supreme Court justice pick, Floridaís Democratic candidates for governor warned of dire consequences for access to abortion."With his pick of Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump has done everything in his ...
Published: 07/16/18
PolitiFact Florida: Did Sen. Bill Nelson vote for higher taxes 349 times? No

PolitiFact Florida: Did Sen. Bill Nelson vote for higher taxes 349 times? No

For years, Republicans have criticized Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson for voting to raise taxes again and again.Nelsonís opponent in the 2012 U.S. Senate race, Connie Mack, claimed Nelson raised taxes 150 times. That claim grew to 272 before the Novembe...
Published: 07/09/18
PolitiFact Florida: Andrew Gillumís largely accurate attack on Philip Levineís record

PolitiFact Florida: Andrew Gillumís largely accurate attack on Philip Levineís record

As he makes his run to become Floridaís governor, Democrat Philip Levine often touts the more progressive moves he made during his time as mayor of Miami Beach.Chief among them is increasing the minimum wage and banning assault weapons."Everyone want...
Updated one month ago
PolitiFact Florida: Republican PAC misleads in ad about Sen. Bill Nelsonís record on Social Security, Medicare

PolitiFact Florida: Republican PAC misleads in ad about Sen. Bill Nelsonís record on Social Security, Medicare

A new ad portrays Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson as a career politician who doesnít have the backs of senior citizens.The New Republican PAC, which is backing Gov. Rick Scott in Floridaís closely watched Senate race, released a 30-second ad criticizing ...
Updated one month ago