Judging Rick Scott's Job Creation Record

Dec 26, 2012

His big campaign pledge was 700-thousand jobs in seven years.

HARD TIMES: The Florida unemployment rate has been reduced mostly by discouraged workers abandoning the job search.
Credit Sweets and Flowers/Flickr

So, halfway through his term, how is Gov. Rick Scott doing with that?

The answer...it's complicated.

Unemployment has dropped from 11.4 percent in January, 2011, to 8.1 percent in November of this year. But almost half of the improvement is attributed to discouraged workers leaving the workforce.

According to a Sun Sentinel story, Construction and government employment are lower than before Scott took office. And Florida is in the grip of national and worldwide  economic trends that a state governor is powerless to deal with.

Projections for statewide job creation over the next two years have been cut from 632,100 to 454,900 jobs.

The downgraded jobs forecast, for instance, is largely attributed to the European debt crisis, uncertainty over the "fiscal cliff" in the U.S., and Florida's slower-than-anticipated processing of foreclosed homes and sales.

"The total jobs numbers are going to be controlled by the global economic environment. No governor can control that," said Tony Villamil, an economics professor and dean of the Business School at St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens and a member of Enterprise Florida's directors.

"I never wanted someone to say, 'I will create 700,000 jobs in 7 years.'"

Scott told the Sun Sentinel, "We are doing the right things and it's working." But economists say it will take far more than 700-thousand jobs -- more like a million -- to get the state back to pre-recession employment levels.