BY BUDDY NEVINS
Gov. Rick Scott has an early Christmas present for Floridians – good news about Florida’s economy.
Scott doesn’t outright take credit for the recovery. But the aim of this pre-holiday news release from his office is clear:
“More people are moving here, more businesses are expanding, our home prices are recovering and more people are pursuing the careers of their dreams. We have more work to do, but Florida is clearly on the right track for greater job creation,” Scott is quoted in the release.
These latest comments come two days after the governor was skewered once again in a statewide poll.
This time it was Quiunnipiac University survey which said more than half the voters didn’t believe Scott deserved a second term and even 53 percent of Republicans wanted another candidate to challenge the governor in a primary.
The survey found that 43 percent of the voters had an unfavorable view of Scott, while 31 percent had a favorable view.
Pollsters found that at this point, the Democratic race to replace Scott in two years appears confined to two candidates: Former Gov. Charlie Crist and former state Chief Financial Office Alex Sink, who lost a close race to Scott two years ago.
Crist has higher recognition, but he also has higher unfavorables:
- Crist – 47 percent favorable; 33 percent unfavorable
- Sink – 27 percent favorable; 14 percent unfavorable
Rich, Seiler Unknown
When asked about two Broward pols making noise about running for governor, state voters largely had one reaction: Who?
Former state Sen. Nan Rich, D-Weston, is unknown by 90 percent of the voters, while 93 percent of the voters have no idea who Mayor Jack Seiler of Fort Lauderdale is.
Rich has been running for months. Seiler is still thinking about it.
While the Democrats plot, the governor campaign subtly. Or maybe not so subtly.
Scott won on a job creation platform with the slogan “Let’s Get To Work”.
His news release is an effort to prove he is accomplishing what he promised.
But can Scott be credited with Florida’s improving economy?
Voters will decide in two years.
Here is the news release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DECEMBER 21, 2012
GOV. SCOTT ANNOUNCES FLORIDA’S NOVEMBER UNEMPLOYMENT RATE DECLINE TIED FOR LARGEST DROP IN 20 YEARS
TALLAHASSEE— Governor Rick Scott today announced that Florida’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 8.1 percent for the month of November – down 0.4 percentage points from last month and the lowest since November 2008. This was the largest drop in the rate over the month since October 1992, and was the second time it occurred this year. The November 2012 rate was 2.0 percentage points lower than the year-ago rate of 10.1 percent. Private-sector job growth over the month jumped to more than 24,000. Since December 2010, the state’s unemployment rate has dropped 3.0 percentage points and 202,500 private sector jobs have been created.
“For many of Florida’s families during this holiday season there could be no greater gift than a regular paycheck,” said Governor Rick Scott. “Florida’s economy continues to improve as evidenced by the more than 24,000 Floridians that filled private-sector jobs created in November, for one of the largest over the month rate declines in more than 20 years. We’re now over 200,000 private-sector jobs created in the two years since I took office with the largest drop in unemployment in the country. More people are moving here, more businesses are expanding, our home prices are recovering and more people are pursuing the careers of their dreams. We have more work to do, but Florida is clearly on the right track for greater job creation.”
More Jobs Being Created
- Florida job postings increased sharply in November 2012 compared to the previous November by 29,522 (an increase of 12.4 percent), for a total of 267,310 openings (seasonally-adjusted) according to the Help Wanted OnLine data series from the Conference Board.
- Florida has experienced positive annual job growth now for 28 consecutive months.
- Florida’s job growth month-to-month has been positive for 14 of the last 17 months.
- Florida is expected to create more than 900,000 new jobs by 2018, according to the Florida Economic Estimating Conference.
- The number of available online job openings in STEM-related (sciences, technology, engineering, and math) fields in Florida have sharply increased since last year, up 13.9 percent, for a total of 65,825 postings in November 2012.
Unemployment Continues to Decline
- Florida’s unemployment rate has now declined year over year for 24 consecutive months.
- Initial claims for Reemployment Assistance benefits were down by 7.6 percent from one year ago while continued claims were down from an average of 553,000 in December 2010 to 279,164 for the week ending December 15, a 50 percent decrease.
Home Sales Robust
- Florida housing starts were up over the year in November (the most recent month available) by 60.2 percent and median home prices were up 11.2 percent over the year.
- Home sales remain robust as the backlog of existing homes on the market is down by 41 percent from November 2011 (Florida Realtors).
Economic Growth Trends Up Across State
- A U.S. Census Survey reported that Florida experienced an influx of people moving into the state, with two of the top ten single destination moves, New-York-to-Florida (+59,288) and Georgia-to-Florida migrations (+38,658). Florida also led the nation in migrations from Puerto Rico with a net total of almost 15,000.
- Florida is running a trade surplus of over $24 billion – with $86.8 billion in exports and $62.4 billion in imports in 2011, up from $73.1 billion in exports in 2010 and $53.2 billion in imports in 2010.
Consumer Confidence High
- Consumer confidence in Florida is near a five-year high, according to the University of Florida’s Consumer Confidence Index.
Workforce Boards Assisting in Employment
- In November, the state’s 24 Regional Workforce Boards reported 46,000 Floridians placed in jobs.
- An individual who receives employment and training assistance through a One-Stop Career Center and finds a job within 180 days is deemed a placement and may be reported by a regional workforce board. Of these individuals 14,211 previously received Reemployment Assistance. Since January, more than 383,000 Floridians were placed in jobs, with nearly 98,000 former claimants finding employment.
To view the November 2012 monthly employment data visit: