- Associated Press - Friday, December 18, 2015

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Gov. Rick Scott announced Friday that Florida has added more than 1 million private sector jobs since he took office in 2011.

That means another 700,000 jobs need to be created in the next two years to fulfill a 2010 campaign promise. The million jobs mark also doesn’t take into account that Florida has 27,300 fewer government jobs since he took office. When considering those lost jobs, Florida needs to add another 15,500 jobs to reach 1 million.

Still, Scott celebrated the figure in a press release and during an announcement at Azimuth Technologies in Naples.

“Thanks to our focus on cutting taxes and making it easier for job creators to succeed, our businesses are creating jobs faster than we ever expected,” Scott said in the release.

Scott plans to do a “Million Miles for a Million Jobs” statewide bus tour next month to celebrate the million jobs figure. He said he has traveled 1 million miles by plane and automobile in his quest to bring jobs to the state.

Overall, Florida’s unemployment rate in November was 5 percent, or 0.2 percent points lower than the revised October figure. It’s the state’s lowest unemployment rate since January 2008 and it’s down 0.7 percentage points from a year ago.

Scott promised to create 700,000 jobs in seven years during his 2010 campaign. After he was told state economists predicted a year earlier that 1 million jobs would be created naturally as Florida recovered from the Great Recession, he said his promise was 700,000 jobs on top of natural growth.

Scott backed off the 1.7 million jobs added goal after his election and last December he claimed he met his promise three years early when the state passed 700,000 jobs added.

In November, Monroe County had the lowest unemployment rate at 3.3 percent, followed by St. Johns County at 3.5 percent and Alachua and Okaloosa counties at 4.1 percent each. Hendry County had the highest unemployment rate at 8.3 percent followed by Hardee County at 7 percent and Citrus and Highlands counties at 6.6 percent each.

Scott used the announcement to continue pushing for his proposed tax cuts and his proposal to use $250 million in state money to lure companies to Florida.

“Even though today’s news is great, we have to continue to diversify our economy by cutting $1 billion in taxes and creating the Florida Enterprise Fund so Florida can be first for job,” Scott said in the release.

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