Gov. Rick Scott announced Friday that the last month of 2011 saw another decrease in the unemployment rate in Florida.In December, 5,100 private sector jobs were created. The state logged an unemployment rate of 9.9 percent down from to a 12 percent unemployment rate in December 2010.
It is the first time in over two years the number of unemployed has slipped into single digits.However, a Jan. 20 release from the Florida Department of Employment Opportunity noted that unemployment in Florida was higher than the national rate. “Florida’s unemployment rate has been higher than the national rate since February 2008,” the release said.
Before that, the last time that Florida had an unemployment rate higher than the nation was in March 2002.
Governor Scott touted that for each public sector job that was cut in 2011, 12 private sector jobs were created; totaling 141,500 for the year and directly in sync with his long-time “Let’s Get to Work” initiative that focuses on private sector jobs and cutting what he considers extra government expenditure.
The largest increases in private non-agricultural employment were in education and health services, management of companies and enterprises and retail trade, while the slowest gains were in the mining and logging industries. Miami-Dade and Broward counties saw the largest increases according to information provided by the Department of Employment Opportunity.
“It is my goal to make Florida the premier global business destination and the number one state in the nation to create and grow a business,” said Scott during his address; “I look forward to working with the legislature.”
During Scott’s state of the state address Jan. 10 he thanked Florida lawmakers for their support in passing legislation in 2011 that reorganized and streamlined government, restructured the public sector pension and Medicaid plans and for passing a balanced budget that spared tax increases.
Scott has unveiled his 2012 budget proposal, which includes a reduction in taxes and over $12 billion allocated to education. Senate bill 76, drafted by Sen. Rene Garcia R-Hialeah, was introduced Jan. 9 and focuses on job creation.
Senate President Mike Haridopolis R-Merritt Island issued a statement following Scott’s announcement. “This session, we will continue to strive to foster an environment that offers stability and predictability to our state’s business owners and entrepreneurs by offering a thoughtful, balanced budget that doesn’t raise a single tax or fee for hardworking Floridians.”
Support for Scott not only comes from Florida lawmakers, but those in other government agencies. “Governor Scott’s leadership has not waivered since taking office,” said DEO Executive Director Doug Darling.