State’s Unemployment Rate Lowest in a Decade, Gov. Scott Accuses Lawmakers of Turning Backs on Economic Development

by | May 19, 2017

Florida’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.5 percent in April. That’s the state’s lowest jobless figure since September of 2007.

The latest job figures released by the Governor’s Office Friday shows that 15,000 jobs were created in Florida in April. That brings the total number of jobs created during Gov. Rick Scott’s administration to 1.36 million.

“I am proud to announce that Florida has achieved the lowest unemployment rate in almost a decade at 4.5 percent,” Gov. Scott said. “Florida businesses also created 15,000 new jobs during the month of April, which is further proof of our state’s continued economic growth. While Florida’s economy is on a roll, now is not the time to slow down our unrelenting efforts to bring more jobs and opportunities to our state.”

The state’s unemployment rate has dropped 6.2 percent since December of 2010, compared to a 4.9 percent drop in the national rate for the same period.

In releasing the job numbers Scott took direct aim on the Legislature which cut funding to Enterprise Florida, the state’s economic development agency, and to Visit Florida, which markets the state’s tourism industry.

The governor says the cuts undermine Florida’s economic successes.

“Businesses and site selectors have taken notice of the Florida Legislature’s decision to turn their backs on the incredible return on investment economic development programs like Enterprise Florida and VISIT FLORIDA have brought to our state,” Scott said. “We cannot allow Florida to fall behind after our years of successful growth. We will continue to work each day to fight for jobs so our state can become the number one place for families and businesses to succeed.”

The jobs report shows that for the past five years Florida’s private sector job growth rate, which stands at 2.9 percent, has outpaced the nation’s, which is 1.7 percent.

Orlando leads the state in job creation with nearly 43,000 new jobs over the past year. It is followed by Tampa with nearly 32,000 jobs created and Fort Lauderdale with 24,000 new jobs. Jacksonville and Miami round-out the top five cities in the state for job growth over the past year with 19,000 and 16,500, respectively.

Scott is weighing his options when it comes to the budget approved by the Legislature earlier this month. He could veto it and call lawmakers back to Tallahassee to rework the spending plan, including the level of funding for both Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida.

A budget veto could prove risky for Scott since lawmakers could override his veto with a two-thirds vote. Both the House and Senate passed the budget by margins greater than that.

But, today’s employment report, as well as strong first quarter tourism numbers for this year that released at the beginning of the week, can only help to boost Scott’s case if he does decide to veto the budget and calls lawmakers back to the state Capitol.



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