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Rick Scott touts low unemployment, but that doesn’t tell the whole story

Gov. Rick Scott touted another month of historically low 3.6 percent unemployment, and 14,000 new jobs created in November.

Gov. Scott said, “I am proud to announce that Florida’s unemployment rate is at a 10-year low and that nearly 14,000 jobs were created for families across the state last month. As we near the end of the year, it is important to reflect on how far our state has come and how we must continue to fight every day to build on this success.

“Over the past seven years, we have turned around Florida’s economy which has allowed us to make record investments in education, transportation and environmental protection. I look forward to kicking off 2018 by working to continue cutting taxes, supporting job creation and education opportunities, and doing all we can to help secure Florida’s future for every family. Florida is a national leader in job creation and the rest of the nation should follow our lead,” Scott added.

Glowing words from the state’s leader, but beneath the headlines is a story that is more troubling.

Of the 17,045,000 in Florida’s civilian non-institutional population, 9,754,000 are employed — a rate of 56 percent. This is below a 60 percent rate nationwide.


The jobs, of course, aren’t everywhere: among the leaders in unemployment rate are Hendry County (7.3 percent) in Florida, Hardee County (6.1 percent), and Citrus County (5.3 percent).

Most metro areas gained jobs over the year; the exceptions are Fort Myers and Homosassa Springs, which lost 300 and 100 jobs respectively since Nov. 2016.

The biggest gainers: Orlando‐Kissimmee‐Sanford (+38,800 jobs, +3.1 percent); Tampa‐St. Petersburg‐Clearwater(+30,600 jobs, +2.3 percent); and Miami‐Miami Beach‐Kendall (+27,100 jobs, +2.3 percent).

Still, that job boom has left a lot of the state behind.

Per the Florida Chamber, 53.7 percent of Florida counties have fewer jobs than they did in 2007.

And there are questions that have been raised about the quality of such jobs, in terms of ability to live off the wages of what used to be a traditional 40 hour work week.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades, with bylines in national and local publications alike on subjects ranging from pop music to national and global politics. Gancarski has been a correspondent for since 2014, and has held a column in Jacksonville, Florida's Folio Weekly for two decades. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." Gancarski is a frequent presence on Jacksonville television and radio, including fill-in slots on WJCT-FM's award-winning talk show "First Coast Connect." He can be reached at

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