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Nonpartisan report claims Florida’s unemployment is rising, not falling

Gov. Scott’s PR machine starts spinning in apparent attempt to refute reality

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In other words, half of what seems to be improvement is actually the opposite. Uh-oh. In order to soften the blow of the report, Gov. Scott pulled his chief economist out of the dusty tabulation room and set her to a rapid spin cycle.

“It remains unclear why some economic analysis would rather highlight the negative factors of the economy when there are numerous indicators reflecting the improving statewide job market over the last two and half years,” Rebecca Rust wrote in a Sept. 5 memo, according to the Miami Herald.

Stop looking at the bad stuff! OK, so here’s some of the bad stuff. Even though Gov. Scott promised to create 700,000 jobs over seven years, there are still 515,100 fewer jobs than there were in boom times about seven years ago (he claims to have created 369,100 as of last month, natch). While workforce participation nationally may be at the lowest it’s been since 1978 (63.2 percent), Florida’s participation rate is at an even more startling 60 percent. Florida also has a lower personal income average ($43,205) than the whole of the U.S. ($49,289) – a bigger gap has not been seen since 2001, according to the Jacksonville Times-Union. So that feeling that you have of certain doom is somewhat justified. Hooray?

Naturally, Scott’s folks would have you believe that this is everyone else’s fault. That the raw numbers provided by the federal government and used in the state’s economic report are dicey and not necessarily accurate. That you need to bear in mind that people are retiring all the time, going back to school all the time, having babies to stay home with all the time, so there can be no accurate comparison here. Besides, the big numbers that we’re shilling are improving, OK? Just don’t look too closely. It’s totally working, guys.

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