Saturday, September 22, 2018
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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 weren’t 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, "we’ve 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 it’s possible the state could make that up by the time he leaves office.

"It’s going to be close," said Rollins College economics professor William Seyfried. "At the current trend, it’s going to come up a little short."

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

These new jobs haven’t 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.

That’s 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 Scott’s 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. "There’s a lot of ingredients that has led to what’s 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.

That’s 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 [email protected] Follow @AllisonBGraves.

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