Florida extended its streak of leading large states in private-sector job growth to 10 months, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Sunshine State’s December rate clocked in at 3.5 percent, beating the national rate of 2.1 percent and besting fellow large states California, New York and, much to the pleasure of Gov. Rick Scott, Texas.
“Florida’s job growth is growing faster than the largest states in the nation, including Texas,” Scott said in a news release. “By cutting taxes and making it easier for businesses to succeed, we’ve created an environment where Florida’s private sector was able to create more than one million jobs in just five years.”
BLS data shows a gain of 21,900 jobs in December for a total of 238,900 nonfarm, private-sector jobs for 2015. That total takes a slight dip to 233,100 when including public employees and farmworkers.
Scott used the data to push his legislative priorities, which include a big boost in economic incentives funding.
“In order to keep growing, we must continue our momentum by cutting $1 billion in taxes and out-competing other states with the creation of the new $250 million Florida Enterprise Fund,” he said.
Incentives were funded at about $43 million in the 2015-16 budget, which was about half of what Scott asked for in his budget recommendation. Officials say the $250 million request would last three years.
The governor also touted the gain of just over 1 million private-sector jobs since December 2010 and the falling unemployment rate, which opened 2015 at 5.7 percent and had fallen to 5 percent by November.
When he first ran for office, Scott promised to add 700,000 jobs in seven years over normal job growth, which economists pegged at about 1 million jobs. He backed off that pledge after the election.