State Job Numbers Improve; Rick Scott Lures N.Y. Businesses

By: Jim Turner | Posted: March 30, 2012 12:35 PM
Unemployment Line

Credit: Tony Strong - Shutterstock

As Gov. Rick Scott entices New Yorkers to consider the reduced taxes of the Sunshine State, Florida’s unemployment rate dropped to its lowest mark since February 2009, as the number dipped 0.2 percent between January and February, according to the state Department of Economic Opportunity.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment mark for the Sunshine State stood at 9.4 percent for February, representing 869,000 Floridians listed as jobless.

The monthly gains have continued for 19 consecutive months following three years of declines.

Gov. Rick Scott, who released an open letter to New York businesses on Thursday urging them to relocate to the Sunshine State, pointed to his recently signed jobs package for what he expects will be continued reduction in the unemployment numbers.

“Florida’s drop in its unemployment rate and increase in private-sector job creation continues to prove our state is definitely headed in the right direction,” Gov. Rick Scott stated in a release on Friday.

“The signing of my 2012 Jobs and Economic Development Package represents a significant step toward ensuring Florida is the best place in the nation to create, attract and retain jobs.”

The state recorded 10,100 jobs created in February, while unemployment compensation totals fell to 346,000 compared to 735,000 in February 2010.

This reduction means more Floridians are finding the jobs they need and reducing the financial burden on taxpayers and businesses, the governor’s office stated in a release.

“Governor Scott recognizes the importance of changing how Florida can help businesses be more successful while also helping Floridians find the jobs they need,” DEO Interim Executive Director Cynthia Lorenzo stated in a release. “His innovative ideas and comprehensive jobs agenda will continue helping this state make significant strides toward being the leader in job creation and economic development.”

The Florida Democratic Party was quick to criticize the state’s monthly report.

“Today’s news is another stark reminder that Florida continues to lag behind the rest of the nation under Governor Rick Scott’s extreme tea party agenda,” Democratic Party spokeswoman Brannon Jordan stated in a release.

“Thanks to the leadership of President Obama, the nation’s economy is turning around, but here at home the unemployment rate still remains among the highest in the country. Governor Scott’s far-right agenda has failed Florida’s families and it’s time he put aside polarizing social issues and focus on strengthening the economy and growing jobs.”

The national unemployment mark stands at 8.3 percent.

State records reported the regions with the largest job gains were Tampa-St. Petersburg, Miami-Dade and Orlando. Meanwhile, Pensacola, Gainesville and Port St. Lucie recorded the biggest job declines.

Across Florida, many governments that have relied heavily on government jobs have held the lowest unemployment marks: 5.4 percent, Monroe County; 6.5 percent in Walton County; 7 percent in  Alachua County.

The highest marks remain in counties that have seen big drops in information, government and construction jobs: 12.7 percent, Flagler County (down from 13.5 percent in January); 12.1 percent, Hernando County; 11.7 percent in Hendry County; and 11.4 percent in St. Lucie County.

Overall, there were 17 Florida counties with double-digit unemployment rates in February, down from 23 in January.

In an appearance on Fox News' Your World With Neil Cavuto on Thursday, Scott pushed Florida as a place for New Yorkers to do business.

“Do you like paying higher taxes to do business in New York?,” Scott stated in an open letter to New York businesses. “As a former CEO and entrepreneur, I know my answer to that question is absolutely not. After meeting with several business leaders in New York this week and hearing about the issues they face, I am convinced that every company in New York should be doing business in Florida. That is why I am inviting you to come to Florida where taxes are lower, the quality of life is great and a beach awaits you around every corner.

“Florida is a right-to-work state with no personal income tax, low business taxes, great teachers, the best beaches and weather in the world, and an overall great quality of life -- factors that every CEO and entrepreneur consider. For those currently doing business in New York, I welcome you to come to Florida and enjoy sunnier days and better business opportunities.

“It is my goal to phase out the corporate income tax, which is already one of the nation's lowest at 5.5 percent. Over the last 14 months, we have eliminated the tax completely for roughly two­-thirds of the businesses that were paying it. This tax relief is part of my extensive jobs package to help businesses grow. In addition, Florida’s work force and job training ranks No. 1 in the country, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Chamber Foundation. And, because of our commitment to be the No. 1 place in the world for jobs, Florida was ranked in the top three best states to do business by CEO Magazine last year (New York came in at the bottom of that list at No. 49).

“Since I was elected, Florida has taken strides to shrink the size, scope and cost of government so that the private sector can thrive and grow jobs. So far, we have eliminated close to 500 burdensome regulations with hundreds more in the pipeline. We also paid down debt by nearly $500 million over the last year, and our S&P AAA­-rated credit outlook was improved at the same time the federal government was downgraded.”

Reach Jim Turner at or at (772) 215-9889.

Comments (10)

5:07AM MAR 31ST 2012
When it comes to unemployment it’s been a tale of two recessions, with level of education playing an unprecedented role in whether you’ve been pink slipped or not. Getting a degree from High Speed Universities is the only solution
2:52AM MAR 31ST 2012
Oh, Frank, I forgot to mention, the "Ponzi scheme" is government employee pensions. It has never worked and never will. Do the folks work hard? You bet they do! Do they deliver essential public utility services! Yep! Do private sector people work as hard? Yep! Gov't employees are not special, brother.
9:03PM MAR 31ST 2012
If some public employees aren't special, let them strike so we can see what the market can bear. Oh that's right, long ago we decided we couldn't bear to have that happen, because sewage would back up, 911 calls might go unanswered, garbage would litter the streets, and your house might become flooded. Public employees aren't special, they're critical to your health, safety, welfare, and they do comparible jobs generaly at lower salaries than in the private sector.
2:46AM MAR 31ST 2012
Frank, how disingenious. Did your hard sciences PhD include basic economics. The 50 states are individual laboratories of ideas, each competing against the others in the arena of good ideas and policy. The life-blood of an economy is private-sector business, and business has PhD's as well, that analyze the bottom line. Gov Scott is attempting to set an environment that is attractive to business, and he is doing everything that the MBA's like to see. Please, is "taking" jobs from another state a disqualifier, REALLY- SERIOUSLY??? I like reading your posts but your credibility just hit the basement dude. My daughter is a sophmore at UF and laughed at your posts. If CA, IL and NY are bad business environments (see CEO magazine ratings) then FL should snag as many of those businesses as we can.
8:56PM MAR 31ST 2012
No, my Ph.D. is not in Economics, but I do have plenty of practical and policy experience with the field, including policy making with some of the top economists in the state. Your sophomore daughter can laugh all she wants as she begins on her educational path - but moving jobs from N.Y. to Florida does little to nothing to improve the basics of the national economy - it's all a shell game. Ask a Scripps what it wants, and it's not cutting the state's universities by $1 billion. Ask your sophomore how much she will like paying higher tuition and having fewer choices in classes. Perhaps you should be talking with someone like your daughter's professors, rather than your daughter, if youtruly want to have a serious discussion on state issues with educated professionals.
11:46PM MAR 30TH 2012
And one more point - job creation means just exactly that - the creation of NEW jobs, not taking them from another state. But I'm sure the Governor will count them in his job creation numbers, but then what should we expect from a Governor who also falsely claimed that DCA was job killing - reminds me of claiming trees pollute.
11:41PM MAR 30TH 2012
Yes, our illustrious leader's grand plan for job creation in Florida is to steal them from New York. That makes alot of sense - bait and switch economics. We can probably keep these jobs for just enough long enough for the Governor to run for a 2nd term until some other state steals them with better incentives. Nothing like giving away public money to for-profit private businesses that will get state tax breaks. Yeah, that makes perfect sense. Talk about a Ponzi scheme, and with our money!
9:45PM APR 1ST 2012
I was on Long Island, N.Y. last summer and the electronic businesses are leaving in droves because of the N.Y. huge taxes and interference of government into their businesses. No one has to steal them away, they are more than willing to leave. While there, two big ones left. One to Wyoming and one to Idaho. They are there for the picking. Why not FLorida! We need those jobs. I say to Gov.Scott Go For It! AND Thanks.
9:49AM APR 2ND 2012
Of course it doesn't bother you that we're cutting universities by $1 Billion partly to pay for inducement incentives for these jobs. It doesn't bother you that we've provided incentives with public money to attract these jobs and then also provide tax credits that result in little or no taxes. In the past some subsidies have been as high as $2 million/job produced, not including free infrastucture and other freebies. Don't ever complain about taxes - because the hidden subsidies you're promoting are killing the rest of us.
1:12AM APR 3RD 2012
Tell me. I've seen more people lose jobs in the state of Florida and move their businesses out of state since these tea party goons took over. Excuse me for not getting excited by the 7 eleven stores coming to JAX when clerks, secretaries and others are left unemployed. Scott et al would have us all become working slaves so he and his cronies will profit.

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