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Stoking a cross-country feud between the Sunshine and Golden states, Florida Gov. Rick Scott traveled to California for the second time in as many years to urge businesses to move to his state.
In his visit this week, Scott said the sun shines more on businesses in Florida, with its lower taxes and less-stringent regulation.
The Florida governor also warned California firms of the harm he said would result from the Golden State’s future minimum wage hike to $15 per hour.
PolitiFact recently examined a claim by Enterprise Florida, the state’s public-private economic development arm, which said California would lose 700,000 jobs due to the wage hike. The national website rated the misleading claim Mostly False.
On my way to tell CA businesses why FL has the best business climate. #FLvsCA— Rick Scott (@FLGovScott) May 1, 2016
California Gov. Jerry Brown, perhaps tired of the job-poaching efforts of governors in Texas and Florida, shot back at Gov. Scott with claims that the Golden State’s job picture is, well, very sunny.
"As one of the millions of tourists flocking to the Golden State this time of year, we’d like to extend a warm welcome to (Florida Gov. Rick Scott). We can understand why he’s coming back -- there’s lots to do and plenty to learn," Brown said in a statement on April 26. His office issue a similar press release a few days later.
"In fact, since his last 2,000 mile cross-country jaunt, California has added twice as many jobs as Florida, while paying down debt, building a robust rainy day fund and taking bold action on issues Governor Scott continues to ignore, like climate change and poverty," Brown said in the statement.
There’s a lot to unpack there. So we focused just on Brown’s statement about California adding twice as many jobs as Florida, and whether there was any context missing. It turns out California’s job picture is not really brighter than Florida’s, at least not during the period Brown described.
We looked at data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for the two states, from May 2015 to March 2016. Scott’s first visit was in April 2015. Last month’s data was not yet available.
During this span, California added 354,100 jobs while Florida added 190,500 jobs. That’s 1.86 times as many jobs as the Sunshine State -- not quite twice as many but pretty close.
Brown’s office also pointed to a slightly different time period, January through December 2015, when California added 1.97 times as many jobs as Florida.
Of course, California is a much larger state with 39.1 million people -- almost double Florida’s population of 20.3 million. One would expect California to add more jobs than Florida, to keep up with the millions more people who live here.
For some context, we checked the states’ job growth rates during this period. Florida had a slightly faster job growth rate at nearly 2.4 percent compared with California’s 2.2 percent.
Gov. Jerry Brown said California has added twice as many jobs as Florida since that state’s governor visited in April 2015 on a job recruiting tour.
Brown's claim is close on the raw numbers. But it leaves out the important context that California is a much larger state that needs to add more jobs to keep its millions more people employed.
The federal jobs data show California added 1.86 times as many jobs as Florida during this period, a bit less than twice as many.
California often leads the nation in overall job gains due to its sheer size. But the pace of that job growth tells a different story. Florida actually added jobs at a slightly faster rate, nearly 2.4 percent compared with California’s 2.2 percent, during the period in question. That takes a lot of the shine off Brown's statement.
We rated his claim Half True.
HALF TRUE – The statement is partially accurate but leaves out important details or takes things out of context.
Click here for more on the six PolitiFact ratings and how we select facts to check.
Email interview, Evan Westrup, spokesman for California Gov. Jerry Brown, April 28, 2016
U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates as of July 1, 2015, accessed May 2016.
Tampa Bay Business Journal, "Brown's office mocks Scott trip to California," April 27, 2016
PolitiFact, "Florida agency's misleading attack on California's minimum wage hike," May 4, 2016
Emsi, "States With Most Per Capita Job Gains Since 2010," May 8, 2014
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