Advertisement
  1. Florida Politics

PolitiFact: Democrats cherry pick Rick Scott's jobs record

Gov. Rick Scott vowed to cut the state payroll by 5 percent.
Published Mar. 11, 2013

On the eve of Gov. Rick Scott's third State of the State address, Florida Democrats released a lengthy memo detailing setbacks for job creation under his reign.

"After cutting more jobs than he created in Florida in 2012, failing to keep his promise to create 700,000 new jobs and a disastrous election year where the Florida GOP 'got their teeth kicked in,' Gov. Rick Scott is running away from everything he campaigned on to get re-elected," wrote Scott Arceneaux, the party's executive director.

PolitiFact Florida is monitoring the central promise of Scott's 2010 campaign — creating 700,000 jobs over seven years — on the Scott-O-Meter, where it is rated Stalled. The state has experienced positive job growth since Scott took office in January 2011, but not at the rate that he would need to meet his pledge.

With that in mind, the Democrats' claim that Scott cut "more jobs than he created" sounded like it needed another look.

We should note first that it's not right to give Scott credit (or blame) for all job growth (or losses) that happens while he is governor. Economic experts have told us that governors usually have little influence on short-term economic performance in their states. Often, national trends and general economic circumstances overwhelm the actions of a single governor.

On the other hand, public officials do have control over the size of the state workforce, and Scott made no secret of his desire to shrink the state payroll during his campaign. He said he would cut state jobs by 5 percent, a pledge we rated Promise Kept on the Scott-O-Meter.

But did he weed out state worker jobs at such a rate that it overtook private-sector growth? Put simply, no.

In his memo, Arceneaux zeroed in on private versus state government jobs in 2012.

"Since the beginning of 2012, Florida has added 7,800 private-sector jobs, but has cut 9,600 public-sector jobs," he states in the memo, which offers an August 2012 report from the state's Department of Economic Opportunity as backup.

We noticed one problem right away. Arceneaux claims to make an overarching point about job losses exceeding gains for all of 2012. But the supporting evidence deals with federal labor data available through mid August, accounting for just half of the year's jobs picture.

We asked Florida Democratic Party spokesman Eric Conrad to explain. He sent us a 2012 news story from the Orlando Sentinel, which quoted Rollins College economics professor William Seyfried as saying Florida added about 7,800 private-sector jobs while cutting about 9,600 government positions — this is key — so far that year.

Conrad said this was the most recent report the party had.

We found data for Florida jobs for all of 2012 from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Yes, 2012 was not kind to the state's job market for the first half, Seyfried said. But federal data show it picked up after August.

From December 2011 to December 2012, Florida lost 10,600 total government jobs. On the other hand, the state saw an increase of 65,600 private-sector jobs. Put them together and you get an overall non-farm jobs total of 54,900 jobs — a net gain, which belies Arceneaux's point.

"There's no way one can conclude that Florida experienced a net loss of jobs in 2012," Seyfried said.

Florida's 2012 economic performance mirrored the country's underwhelming job growth, said Sean Snaith, director of the University of Central Florida's Institute for Economic Competitiveness.

"They pick six months (of Florida jobs data) and they say nothing about the role the Democratic president has played in a slow national recovery," Snaith said.

Arceneaux's point is focused on the worst period of job growth the state experienced with Scott as governor. The state grew more than twice as many jobs in Scott's first year in office (122,900 private-sector jobs minus 7,200 government jobs equals 115,700 total nonfarm jobs). And by the end of 2012, Scott's job creation total continued to lag mightily behind his promise of 700,000 jobs but was up to 170,600.

Arceneaux tried to discredit Scott's influence on Florida's economy on the eve of his State of the State address. Putting the blame for job losses squarely on Scott's shoulders, Arceneaux said Scott cut "more jobs than he created in Florida in 2012."

This claim is a bad case of cherry-picking. The Democrats homed in on the state's bleakest period of job growth. Not only that, they held it up as a whole year's performance.

Yes, 2012 was sluggish for job growth, especially compared with 2011. But it was an increase nonetheless.

We rate the statement Pants on Fire!

This ruling has been edited for print. See more fact-checks at politifact.com/florida.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. On the left, NASA graphic of space junk in low Earth orbit. On the right, the view from further out. (NASA ODPO) NASA ODPO
    The U.S. Defense Department is tracking over 22,000 objects about the size of a softball or larger.
  2. 3 hours ago• Hillsborough
    U.S. Rep. Ross Spano, R- Dover, when he served in the Florida House in 2017, SCOTT KEELER  |  Times
    Spano has become a vociferous Trump defender and is comparing the investigation of his own 2018 campaign financing to the impeachment, which he calls a partisan sham.
  3. United States Air Force veteran Daniel Carmichael, of Inverness, shares his opinion before a meeting of the Board of County Commissioners of Citrus County on Tuesday, November 19, 2019, at the Citrus County Courthouse in Inverness, where the Citrus County Commission is expected to render a decision on whether to get digital subscriptions for the New York Times for all 70,000 of the county library cardholders. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  TImes
    After two hours of debate, a motion to move forward with digital subscriptions for library cardholders fails 3-2.
  4. Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at pre-legislative news conference on Tuesday Oct. 29, 2019, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon) STEVE CANNON  |  AP
    He’s got a new voucher proposal, as well.
  5. FILE - This March 28, 2017, file photo, provided by the New York State Sex Offender Registry, shows Jeffrey Epstein. Two correctional officers responsible for guarding Jeffrey Epstein the night before he took his own life are expected to face criminal charges this week for falsifying prison records. That’s according to two people familiar with the matter. The federal charges could come as soon as Tuesday and are the first in connection with Epstein’s death.. (New York State Sex Offender Registry via AP, File) AP
    “The FBI is involved and they are looking at criminal enterprise, yes,” said the nation’s top prisons administrator to Senators on Tuesday.
  6. The David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts illuminated its new sign for the first time on Dec. 6, 2010. Times (2010)
    The historic donation that renamed the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center is still impacting Tampa Bay’s arts community.
  7. In this Thursday, Aug. 1, file photo, Amanda Kondrat'yev, the woman accused of throwing a sports drink at U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz in June outside a town hall meeting, arrives at Winston Arnow Federal Court House in Pensacola, Fla. Kondrat'yev has been sentenced to 15 days in federal custody for throwing the sports drink at Gaetz. TONY GIBERSON  |  AP
    Amanda Kondrat’yev pleaded guilty to assault in August and had faced up to a year in jail.
  8. On the issue of whether to retroactively apply changes in Florida’s sentencing laws to inmates currently in prison, Gov. Ron DeSantis says he prefers to deal with cases using the clemency process. STEVE CANNON  |  AP
    Hundreds of Florida inmates are serving sentences no longer in state law, according to new research.
  9. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is proposing $1 billion in increased teacher pay as part of a $91.4 billion state budget he put forward on Monday. CHRIS URSO  |  Times
    The Florida governor also wants to hire hundreds of new corrections officers and spend $1.4 billion on hurricane recovery.
  10. FILE - In this Aug. 1, 2019, file photo, Donald Trump Jr. speaks before the arrival of President Donald Trump at a campaign rally at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File) JOHN MINCHILLO  |  AP
    University of Florida student body president Michael Murphy received a resolution for his impeachment Tuesday. Then the state’s Republican Party started an online petition and fundraiser.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement