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By Richard Danielson January 15, 2015

Tampa Bay area leads Florida in job creation, Buckhorn says

In a commercial running on Tampa cable television, Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s re-election campaign claims "we’re leading the state in jobs creation."

Buckhorn said the "we" in this case is the entire Tampa Bay area, not just his city or Hillsborough County alone.

"I always say Tampa Bay whenever I use that," Buckhorn told PolitiFact Florida in an interview on Jan. 13, 2015. "I’ve been saying ‘we’ for four years. This is not just about Tampa’s success. It’s about the bay area’s success. … It’s a ‘we’ proposition, not a ‘me’ proposition."

Buckhorn has worked to streamline development regulation at City Hall, and tries to build confidence about the bay area, extolling its virtues and setting an upbeat tone. But any mayor has a limited ability to influence job growth. Economic trends beyond the control of city executives alone tend to dictate whether jobs are created or lost. And the Tampa Bay area’s experience in the last year demonstrates that those trends can change direction.

This time last year, the Tampa Bay area led all Florida metros in adding jobs over the previous year, with 35,400 new jobs in the 12 months that ended in December 2013.

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That changed in 2014, according to labor statistics from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.  

Through November, the most recent month for which figures are available, the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro area had created 12,900 jobs over a 12-month period. That put it in a tie for fifth place among Florida metro areas with West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Boynton Beach, which also created 12,900 jobs in a local workforce that is less than half the size of the Tampa Bay area’s.

In 2014, the top four metro areas for job creation were Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford (46,300 new jobs in the 12 months ending in November), Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall (39,500 jobs), Ft. Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach (28,400 jobs) and Jacksonville (17,000 jobs).

Taking a longer view, the picture looks better for the Tampa Bay area. From April 2010 to April 2014, the bay area added 134,346 jobs, more than in the Orlando, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Jacksonville and West Palm Beach metro areas. From April 2011, the month that Buckhorn took office as mayor, through April 2014, Orlando produced more jobs, with the Tampa Bay area close behind.

Buckhorn’s commercial says "we’re leading the state in jobs creation." That was true for several years, but over last year the trends changed. Tampa is no longer leading the state in job creation. We rate his statement Mostly False.

Our Sources

"Swagger" television commercial, accessed Jan. 15, 2015

Interview with Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Jan. 13, 2015

Email exchanges and telephone interview with Bob Buckhorn re-election campaign communications director Beth Leytham, Jan. 13-15, 2015

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Local Area Unemployment Statistics website, accessed Jan. 14-15, 2014

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity news release: "Florida’s November Employment Figures Released," Dec. 19, 2014, accessed Jan. 14, 2015

Tampa Bay Times, Florida's jobs market weakens in January after 2013 turns out better than thought, March 17, 2014, accessed Jan. 14, 2015

Tampa Bay Times, Florida's unemployment rate falls to 6.2 percent but hurdles remain, Jan. 24, 2014, accessed Jan. 14, 2015

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Tampa Bay area leads Florida in job creation, Buckhorn says

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