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Rick Scott touts continued private-sector job growth in Florida

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Gov. Rick Scott said Monday that Florida’s private-sector job growth rate led the 10 most populous states and handily beat the national average last month.

“For eight consecutive months, Florida has led all other large states in job growth, including our number one competitor Texas,” Scott said. “I look forward to working with the Legislature to cut $1 billion in taxes and create the Florida Enterprise Fund this year to diversify our economy so Florida can become first for job growth.”

Bureau of Labor Statistics data put Florida’s job growth rate at 3.4 percent in October, well above the 2.2 percent national average. The state added an estimated 36,600 private-sector jobs through the month, for a total of 264,700 jobs since October 2014.Texas, by comparison, added 15,900 jobs in October and has had a 12-month gain of 349,300 jobs.

The jobs were plentiful enough to knock the unemployment rate down from 5.2 percent to 5.1 percent – a tenth of a percent higher than the national rate.

Since February 2010, the national low-point of private-sector employment, the Sunshine State has added 1.05 million jobs. Scott prefers to slide the starting point to December 2010, after he won his first election. Since that date, the state has added 978,800 jobs.

Scott has pointed to the BLS data monthly to bolster his request for $250 million in economic incentives money – 3 years’ worth in a lump sum – in the 2016-17 budget.

Scott asked for $85 million in incentives money last year, though lawmakers ended up allocating about $43 million.

Since the close of the 2015 regular session, Scott has routinely said the state is about to run out of incentives money and may not be able to close incentives deals going forward.

The governor also wants changes to how incentives money would be spent. Under his proposal, the approval process for incentives deals worth more than $1 million would only need the governor, House speaker and Senate president to sign off rather than the entire legislature.

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for SaintPetersBlog and FloridaPolitics.com. While at the University of Florida, Wilson was an editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and after graduation, he moved to Los Angeles to cover business deals for The Hollywood Reporter. Before joining Extensive Enterprises, Wilson covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools.

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