Saturday, October 25th, 2014
Mostly True
Scott
"In the past year, Floridians, not government, created almost 135,000 new private sector jobs. We netted more than 120,000 total jobs in the first 11 months of 2011; the third most of any state in the nation."

Rick Scott on Tuesday, January 10th, 2012 in his State of the State address

Rick Scott says Florida's job growth is the third most of any state

Gov. Rick Scott boasted about job growth, his signature issue, during his second annual state of the state address Jan. 10, 2012.

"In the past year, Floridians, not government, created almost 135,000 new private sector jobs. We netted more than 120,000 total jobs in the first 11 months of 2011; the third most of any state in the nation."

Were Scott's numbers right?

James Miller, a spokesman for the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, pointed to his department's December press release based on BLS data that showed 120,200 net jobs between January and November 2011. That includes 134,800 private sector jobs added, but 14,600 government jobs lost.

We turned to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to verify.

Data from the BLS shows total nonfarm seasonally adjusted jobs in Florida grew from about 7.16 million to 7.28 million, or an increase of about 120,200 between January and November 2011. So that gets us to Scott's claim about netting more than 120,000 total jobs.

But the BLS would call that a 10-month change -- not an 11-month change because those numbers start with January and don't show how many jobs were added between December and January.

Scott might have wanted to look at the first 11 months of 2011 rather than the 12-month net change because he was sworn into office Jan. 4, 2011, and 11 months of data is available for that year so far. Scott appears to have lopped off the December 2010 job loss figures from before he was governor.

The BLS provides data for states' 12-month net jobs change, which was 110,500 for Florida for private jobs and 98,000 for total nonfarm jobs (both not seasonally adjusted.) Those figures put Florida third behind Texas and California.

Florida is the fourth most populous state in the country behind California, Texas and New York so its not particularly impressive that it would net the third most number of jobs. And by focusing on the number of added jobs rather than the unemployment rate, Scott is able to tell a more positive story. Florida's unemployment rate was 10 percent for November. Only four states had a higher rate -- California, Nevada, Mississippi and Rhode Island. Illinois and North Carolina tied with Florida.

Our ruling

Scott said, "In the past year, Floridians, not government, created almost 135,000 new private sector jobs. We netted more than 120,000 total jobs in the first 11 months of 2011; the third most of any state in the nation." Scott's figures are correct, although what he has done here is point to a 10-month job change. We also question how significant it is that Florida ranks third for new jobs, given that we're one of the largest states population-wise. Our unemployment rates would suggest we still have quite a way to go. Still, Scott's numbers are on track. We rate this Mostly True.