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Politics

Rick Scott: The Job Creation Number That Matters Is 130,000

September 17, 2012 - 6:00pm

Gov. Rick Scott is standing by his number on jobs created since taking office as he expressed hope that job growth trends would not return to a downward slide when the latest unemployment numbers arrive on Friday.

Scott, who campaigned on a promise of creating 700,000 jobs in seven years and maintains that outlook, repeatedly pointed on Tuesday to the figure of 130,000 private jobs having so far been created in Florida since January 2011.

Indicators are very good in our state; the biggest drop in unemployment is in our state, tourism is up, exports are up, home prices up, home sales are up, new home construction is up, the number, if you look at the things Enterprise Florida is doing,the jobs they are bringing to the state, Scott told reporters Tuesday.

This was a state that before I came to office had lost over 800,000 jobs in four years. We are doing very well.

The state did experience a bump in its year-and-a-half downward march in unemployment in July, growing 0.2 percent to 8.8 percent, according to the monthly estimates from the state Department of Economic Opportunity.

When pressed Tuesday that the states positive numbers come in part from people giving up seeking work and who no longer qualify for unemployment benefits, Scott repeatedly pointed to the private-sector jobs.

Ive not talked to one Floridians who says, 'gosh, I want to be on unemployment, Scott said.

Im proud of the fact that people are getting jobs and Im proud of the fact that fewer people are on unemployment in our state. Im going to do everything I can to make sure that this is the land of opportunity. This is the place where you can live the American dream. You can start with no money, with an idea, and build a business.

Scott declined to respond or comment on statements last week from Florida economists that projected if the number of people who stopped looking for work were still included in the monthly unemployment numbers, the states mark would touch 9.8 percent.

In giving a presentation last week on Floridas projected budget for the next fiscal year, Floridas chief economist Amy Baker, coordinator of the Florida Legislature's Office of Economic and Demographic Research, said a large portion of the states improved unemployment numbers come from people falling off the eligibility list without re-entering the work force.

After the meeting, she noted the number, deemed discouraged workers, may also be impacted by people nearing retirement who have decided to instead make the leap early if they have the financial means.

It's people who are sitting back and not looking actively for work right now because they just feel there are no opportunities available for them," Baker said. "Certainly, there's probably a small piece of that coming from the baby boomers."

Reach Jim Turner at jturner@sunshinestatenews.com or at (772) 215-9889.

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