WSJ's Moore Hypes Gov. Scott's Misleading Job Math


The Wall Street Journal's Stephen Moore cited figures that independent analysts have called misleading to hype Florida Gov. Rick Scott's claims about his administration's job creation record.

In a post on the Journal's Political Diary blog titled "The Florida Phenom," Moore wrote that Scott's job creation record may "save him from defeat" in the upcoming gubernatorial race. Moore touted Scott's claim that his administration had already completed half his campaign promise to create 700,000 jobs by 2017, concluding "The thing most likely to save him from defeat is, as Joe Biden once put it, that three letter word: J-O-B-S":

Now the needles are all pointed in a northward direction, and the man in charge during the turnaround is Republican Gov. Rick Scott. He promised 700,000 new jobs in seven years, and in an interview last weekend he said, "we're half-way there." The state has seen employment rise by just over 350,000 since 2010. A new analysis by the nonpartisan Florida Economic Estimating Conference is expecting 900,000 new jobs by 2018.

Sure, there's a national recovery, but the unemployment rate in Florida "has fallen almost twice as much as the national average," the governor noted. Mr. Scott credits pro-growth policies. "We cut taxes 24 times," he said, including business and property taxes by $200 per homeowner. The budget deficit has been tamed. The housing oversupply has been cut by one-third.

Despite Moore's endorsement, Scott's job creation claims have been criticized by independent analysts. PolitiFact Florida pointed out that Scott's campaign promise was actually to create 700,000 jobs on top of the 1 million the state was already expected to add - in essence promising to create 1.7 million jobs by 2017:

The promise at hand is rated Stalled on the Scott-O-Meter despite the state adding 302,500 net jobs since December 2010.

Why is it Stalled? Because Scott told us in a debate and in press accounts that his 700,000 jobs would come on top of Florida's normal growth as it re-added jobs lost during the recession. State economists expected the state to add about 1 million jobs by 2017.

"It's on top of that," he told a reporter in 2010. "If you do these things, we're going to grow 700,000 more jobs." 

So Scott needs about 1.4 million more jobs by 2017 to fulfill his original promise of 1.7 million jobs. Through 28 months in office, the state has added less than 20 percent of the jobs he needs to meet that mark.

In an update to the post, Politifact noted that Florida's average monthly jobs created is about half of what Scott would need to fulfill his campaign promise:

Under Scott's watch, Florida is creating an average of 10,184 jobs a month. It's not bad -- it's certainly better than before the revisions.

Still, it's half the monthly average Florida needs to crank out in order for Scott to fulfill his promise of creating 1.7 million new jobs by 2018.

Posted In
Economy, Jobs, Wages, & Unemployment
Wall Street Journal
Stephen Moore
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