Rick Scott spent his entire morning today serving doughnuts at a shop in Tampa in an effort to paint himself as a creator-of-jobs governor and score some publicity points. Of course, directly after, he got on a talk radio show to talk all about it.
Scott was chatting on WFTL 850 AM in Pompano Beach after his doughnut gig, and claimed that since he's been governor, Florida's unemployment rate has dropped faster than that of any other state in the nation. Which, well, is just not true.
"I don't think any state has dropped that fast this year," Scott said according to Naked Politics. "We're still higher than the national average, so we still have a way to go."
It's true Florida's unemployment rate has dropped pretty far since Scott took office. It sat at 11.9 percent in January, and came in at 10.6 percent in June (still well above the national average). That's a 1.3 percent drop, but a few states have dropped further in the same time.
Neveda's unemployment dropped from 14.2 percent to 12.4 percent. That's a 1.8 percent drop. New Mexico's fell from 8.7 to 6.6, a 2.1 drop. Oklahoma's went from 6.6 to 5.3, a drop equal to Florida's 1.3.
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Plus there are a few things to keep in mind. Florida had much more room to drop than other states. If you judged states by percentage of total unemployed who are now employed since January, Florida would appear more toward the middle. Also, those are based on seasonally adjusted numbers, and each state's work force seasonally fluctuates differently. To get a clearer picture, one would need to compare June 2011's unemployment rate to June 2010's number.
Florida's unemployment numbers only dropped 0.8 percent compared to a year ago. The rate has dropped further in Illinois (1.1 percent), Indiana (2.0 percent), Michigan (2.1 percent), Nevada (2.5 percent), New Mexico (1.6 percent), Ohio (1.3 percent), Oregon (1.4 percent), Rhode Island (1 percent), Virginia (0.9 percent), and Wyoming (1.1 percent).
Of course, an economist might laugh at comparing states' unemployment rates in such a way, but we're just going by the criteria Scott laid out, and we have to keep him honest. So his claim that no state has dropped faster this year is flat out wrong.