Gov. Scott: State added 20,000 Jobs in August, led to Wage Hike
By CRA News Service
BOCA RATON – Palm Beach County businesses have added 14,200 private-sector jobs over the last 12 months, Gov. Rick Scott said on a recent trip to town.
This announcement also brings the state unemployment rate to 5.3 percent, down from 5.9 percent compared to August 2014.
“I was proud to visit ADT’s corporate headquarters today to announce that more than 940,000 private-sector jobs have been created in Florida since December 201stop. “ADT is one of many great businesses that have chosen Florida as their headquarters location, and we are excited that they have created thousands of opportunities for Florida families.”
The security company employs more 3,000 Florida residents and more than 20 offices across the state.
Professional and business services had the largest job growth over the year with 8,100 new jobs, according to the governor’s office. Education and health services followed with 2,600 new jobs, and leisure and hospitality with 2,400 new jobs.
Florida now has more than 7 million private sector jobs, a record high for the state. Plus there are more than 200,000 current job openings in the state, state officials said.
In August 2015, the West Palm Beach metro area had 20,252 online job openings, the governor’s office said. The metro area had 5,268 high wage, high skill science technology engineering math (STEM) openings.
During the same period, more than 37,900 Floridians were placed in jobs by CareerSource Palm Beach and the state’s other 23 regional workforce boards.
The work is not done, Scott said, adding that he wants to see more improvement in the numbers.
“We need to recruit more companies like GE and other companies [that are] considering moving out of these high tax, high regulations states down here … to diversify our economy,” he said.
Earlier this month, General Electric Co. officials said that the company may move about 500 jobs overseas because Congress did not renew a government program that allows foreign companies to borrow money to buy U.S. products.
Meanwhile the state took a huge step toward passing a $15 minimum wage last month when Democratic state Rep. Victor Torres (D-Orlando) filed a bill to bring the issue up during the 2016 legislative session.
The bill is identical to one introduced in the Senate in July by state Sen. Dwight Bullard (D-Miami). Since the measures are the same, if both pass as currently written, all they would need a signature from the governor.
But the odds of the legislation winning favor in the Republican-controlled Legislature and securing the support of Scott is unknown.
When asked his stance on $15 per hour minimum wage proposal, Governor Scott provided no clear position.
“Any bill that goes through the House and Senate, if it makes it through there, I’ll be glad to look at it, but here’s the prism I look at things with,” he said. “Is it going to be good for families? Is it going to create more jobs? Is it going to improve education? Is it going to keep us safe? Those are the three things that I focus on every day.”
Florida, with its $8.05 an hour minimum wage, and 28 states and Washington, D.C., have minimum wages above the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, which has not been raised since July 2009.
Florida minimum wage has been gradually increasing since 2004 when voters adopted a constitutional amendment calling for the wage to be adjusted annually based on a cost-of-living index.
Some cities have even gone as high as $15, with several others also considering such a jump. No state, however, has increased its minimum wage that much. New York state has decided to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour but only for fast-food workers.
Five Southern states don’t even have a state minimum wage: Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.