DEO Press Releases

Setting the Record Straight: Tampa Bay Times Paints Inaccurate Picture of Florida’s Economy

Sep 14, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –  Today, the Tampa Bay Times published a story about Florida’s economy and growth in rural areas of the state. Please see the economic facts below from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

While it is completely inaccurate to claim that 36 counties have lost jobs during the governor's term, it is important to recognize that the Times references a report that uses misleading and statistically confusing information to paint a negative economic picture of rural Florida. Florida uses the official numbers from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Since 2010, when Governor Scott took office, every single Florida county has experienced a drop in the unemployment rate. The unemployment rate is the best indicator of the health of a job market. Florida’s unemployment rate is also the lowest in a decade and Florida has gained nearly 1.6 million jobs since December 2010, proving that individuals in all counties who want a job are succeeding in finding jobs. 

CLAIM: Jackson has lost more than 1,600 jobs; its population is smaller and more people are living in poverty today than before Scott took office.

FACT: The facts are that since December 2010, Jackson County has gained 625 private-sector jobs and the unemployment rate has dropped 4.9 percentage points from 9.4% in December 2010 to 4.5% in July 2018. Additionally, there are currently more than 650 open positions in Jackson County and CareerSource Chipola continues to work with residents to help them gain the skills they need for those jobs.

CLAIM: In his State of the State address two years ago, Scott triumphantly told the Legislature he had "completely" turned around the economy. But it's not true.

FACT: Since the Governor gave this speech, Florida’s private sector has created nearly 600,000 jobs. This brings the total number of private-sector jobs created since December 2010 to nearly 1.6 million jobs.

CLAIM: Under Scott, Jackson County has lost jobs.

FACT: Again, the Times chooses to rely on a misleading report that uses data from 2007, rather than including the updated information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since December 2010, Jackson County has gained 625 private-sector jobs, a growth rate of 7.2%. There are currently more than 650 job openings in Jackson County.

CLAIM: During Scott's tenure, the state has sent $11 million to Jackson County for housing, site work, wells, water lines and other improvements. More than half of the money came from the federal government. Scott earlier this month announced $1.5 million in grants to small, rural communities statewide for job creation efforts. Marianna's share was $32,000.

FACT: Since 2010, the state has also invested more than $16.1 million in specific workforce training and placement grants to CareerSource Chipola, which serves the people of Jackson County. With this funding, CareerSource Chipola has also assisted more than 16,000 individuals who found jobs in the region since 2011. Additionally, the Times failed to include the previous two awards that the county has received from the Job Growth Grant Fund to the Marianna Airport and to Chipola College. These investments totaled $2.1 million and were not included in the story.

The fact is that since December 2010, every single Florida county has experienced a drop in its unemployment rate. Florida’s unemployment rate is the lowest in a decade and Florida has gained nearly 1.6 million jobs since December 2010, proving that individuals in all counties who want a job are succeeding and finding jobs. These are simply the facts.

About DEO

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity combines the state’s economic, workforce and community development efforts. This new approach helps expedite economic development projects to fuel job creation in competitive communities. For more information, including valuable resources for employers and job seekers, please visit www.floridajobs.org.

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