Tallahassee, FL - Florida ended 2010 right were it began, with high unemployment.
“Florida’s rate held steady at 12.0 percent. Of course it was 12 a month ago. A year ago, the rate was 11.7 percent,” said AWI Chief Economist Rebecca Rust.
All year the state unemployment rate hovered around 12 percent. At the end of the year more than a million Floridians were looking for jobs.
The latest labor statistics are from December and don’t reflect anything Governor Rick Scott has done during his first month in office. But they do signal a starting point for his jobs plan.
Florida has a workforce of 9.2 million people. 1.1 million are looking for work. Economists say by 2018 an economic recovery will create one million jobs. Scott says he’ll add another 700-thousand to that number, which would more than cover the unemployed and bring people who’ve stopped looking for work back into the labor pool.
“We’ve got to clearly work on getting our economy going again. Everyday I’m working on getting jobs back into the state. Make sure we are the number one state people want to start, expand, or move there businesses here and I’m calling companies all the time,” said Scott.
Tuesday his work paid off, when Vision Airlines announced an expansion into Florida.
“We’re going to make sure we’re the state that is really a state for business,” said Scott.
Thursday Scott met with Golf legend Jack Nicklaus to talk about using golf to attract more tourists. Talks are also underway on expanding rail and gaming. If Scott hits the jackpot, it will mean thousands of jobs for Florida.
More businesses have begun to hire temporary workers. The state Agency for Workforce Innovation says that a good sign that things are beginning to turn around.