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Unemployment dips to 9.9 percent in December. Scott: Our policies are working

 Florida’s unemployment rate has fallen below double-digits for the first time since mid-2009, a statistic Gov. Rick Scott touted on a rare conference call with reporters after December’s jobs numbers were released.

The state's unemployment rate dropped to 9.9 percent in December, down from 10 percent the month before. Florida’s unemployment rate peaked at 12 percent in December 2010, and has shed 2.1 points since then.

 “This proves that the changes we’re implementing, with the help of our friends in the Legislature, are working,” Scott said.

The economy added 17,000 jobs in December to close out a year of 142,000 net job gains.

Still, the state’s economy is far from healthy, as a Mitt Romney ad bashing Pres. Obama’s performance in Florida points out. There are currently about 913,000 people without jobs and the over-leveraged housing market has more homes stuck in the foreclosure process than any other state.

Still, things appear to be improving, and Scott, who came into office under the motto “Let’s Get to Work,” is touting his 1-year record. 

“There are more than 12 private sector jobs being created in Florida for every public sector lost since January 2011,” Scott said. 

During the conference call, Scott gave a shoutout to the states’ 24 regional workforce boards, which he is pushing to exert more control over after a series of blunders last year. A bill being pushed by the governor’s office would give Scott and future governors the power to fire directors of the workforce boards.

Florida’s 17,000 jobs added in December were part of a national trend. Nationwide, December saw 200,000 new jobs added to the economy, and the national unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent.

Here's a  look at South Florida data.

Here's the release:


 TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) today announced that Florida’s unemployment rate declined again in December 2011 to 9.9 percent - the lowest since April 2009.  Since Governor Rick Scott took office, the state’s unemployment rate has dropped 2.1 percentage points from its peak of 12.0 percent in December 2010.

 “Florida continues to see gains in its private sector job creation and a decrease in our unemployment rate – now down to single digits,” said Governor Rick Scott. “Working with the Florida Legislature to create the strongest economy in the nation, I am focused on eliminating burdens on businesses and improving our workforce development efforts to attract needed jobs that can help Floridians get back to work and aid in our economic recovery.”

 Demonstrating that Florida’s commitment to business prosperity works, an average of more than 12 private sector jobs are being created in Florida for every public sector job lost since January 2011. During that same timeframe, the private sector has added 141,500 jobs in Florida, averaging more than 12,800 per month. The total net gain was 130,000 jobs.

 “Governor Scott’s leadership has not waivered since taking office:  remove barriers to job creation, streamline economic development at all levels and protect our quality of life,” said Doug Darling, DEO Executive Director. “The Department is committed to accomplishing these objectives in partnership with Enterprise Florida, Inc and Workforce Florida, Inc.”