Gov. Rick Scott regularly claims that he has already brought more than a million new jobs to the Sunshine State.
But the I-Team discovered that some segments of the economy actually lost jobs.
When former Tampa restaurant Manager Laura Hughley was asked how much she wants a job, she replied, “A lot, a hundred percent.”
She and dozens of others at the Florida Jobs Office recently were there seeking jobs that pay slightly more than minimum wage.
“I’ve been on five interviews in two weeks and haven’t been called back from one, even though I have the qualifications,” Hughley said.
She is a high school graduate, but she says she’s up against candidates who have college degrees when applying for jobs in customer service or management.
When Scott talks about a million jobs, he's talking about jobs in private industry.
Numbers from the end of last June, the most recent detailed data available from the U.S. Department of Labor, reflect that the state gained 909,000 jobs in the private sector over five years.
But that left out losses in local, state and federal government, where the number of jobs in Florida dropped by more than 141,000 during that time period.
That brought overall gains to about 767,000, about what economists predicted would have resulted from improving economic conditions, federal job stimulus programs and population growth.
Florida has budgeted nearly $400 million in incentives over a five-year period to bring new jobs to the state through Enterprise Florida, the state’s economic development agency.
Targeted new jobs currently average about $59,000 in pay, but the state has spent less than 10 percent of the budgeted amount so far.
“I don't think we actually got an answer to how many jobs were created last year,” said Sen. Jack Latvala during a hearing on funding more incentives for the program last September.
Many of the commitments through the program take as long as seven years to materialize, and those new companies must meet certain goals to qualify for incentive payments.
That’s why Enterprise Florida officials say not all of the budgeted money has been used so far to bring new companies to the state.
“We're not qualified to work those jobs. It's just people that are qualified to work for those jobs that are coming to Florida, instead of jobs that people really need,” Hughley said.
Gov. Scott's Office says there are currently 287,000 job openings in Florida, and that number keeps growing.
The Governor's Office says the federal data is lagging behind actual job gains.
They say you can see the latest statewide numbers here:
And job seekers can find out more about those jobs that are currently available and how to best apply for them here:
So what kinds of jobs are being created under Scott?
The I-Team has ranked the types of jobs in terms of growth. What we found is the overall job market in Tampa Bay appears strong, but it’s hard finding the right people to fill them.
“People are hiring faster. There are more openings. We’re seeing salaries go up, in terms of pay,” said Shaun Androff, who works for Hiregy, a job placement firm located in the Tampa market.
“I would say this is the best the market's been in at least 10 years,” Androff said.
U.S. Department of Labor statistics show service industry jobs grew most in the latest one-year period available, more than 226,000 jobs were added in that sector in Florida.
Trade, transportation and utilities came in second.
Jobs created during Gov. Scott's administration aren't always the highest paying
Professional and business services ranked third, while federal and local government jobs grew the least, with federal jobs increasing by 2,034 and local government jobs in Florida increasing by 1,842 during the past year.
“We're not seeing as much talent as we have open jobs right now,” said Daniel James Scott, who is with the Tampa Bay Technology Forum, an advocacy group for tech jobs.
He says hiring is a challenge for higher-paying skilled jobs in the tech sector.
“Until that changes, some of the higher level jobs are going to people outside of the Tampa market,” Scott said.
If you have a story you’d like the I-Team to investigate, contact us at Iteam@abcactionnews.com.