Can you feel it? Maybe you can smell it in the air. The phenomenon that is rattling your senses isn’t the buzzing of a Florida economic revival but rather the potent odor of manure coming from the Governor’s (and RPOF’s) press shop. Newsflash, Florida: We are still stuck in the muck, lagging behind, and have a Governor and majority party that are too busy patting themselves on the back to even notice. But don’t worry, The Florida Squeeze is always here for you, squeezing the truth out of this corrupt and spin doctor-controlled administration. In this installament of #ItsNotWorking, we take a deeper look at the types of jobs Governor Scott and his administration are taking credit for creating and labeling the backbone of our recovery. Are they jobs that are going to spur sustainable growth in Florida over the next five years? 10 years? Or are they the types of jobs that are going to lead us in a more broad base recovery that can be sustained over the nest 50 to 100 years?
First let’s lay out all of the cards out on the table for context. According to a December Tampa Bay Times piece, since Governor Scott took office, Florida’s unemployment rate has dropped from 11.1 to 6.7 percent, via the addition for 444,000 jobs. On the surface, one could say “wow, Florida’s economy is improving.” They’d be right…but a closer look at those 444,000 jobs, revels a more grim story. AnotherTampa Bay Times piece did some investigating and made a startling discovery: the manufacturing jobs Florida lost during the recession are being replaced with lower wage service jobs. This is not a good trend for growth in Florida and it’s had a variety of subsequent unintended consequences — low workforce participation, heavy competition for low wage jobs, and a huge exodus of qualified talent out of state, all of which we have covered here at the The Florida Squeeze this week.
According to the Miami Herald, three industries account for 63 percent of all minimum wage jobs of Florida: hospitality, retail and healthcare while the sustainable jobs in construction, transportation, and government for example have been in a steady retreat. Florida isn’t alone in this trend. It’s a national phenomenon, which I’ve written about extensively for TFS including this piece this past summer.
So whats it like out there? 60 percent of the jobs lost during the last recession were mid-wage jobs, but 58 percent of the jobs created since then have been low wage jobs. Not a good ratio if you’re looking to build an economy fit for the future. How bad is it? In 1980 less than 30% of all jobs in America were low wage jobs or “bad jobs.” Now, more than 40% of all jobs in America are low wage or “bad jobs.” In reality, America has a higher percentage of workers doing low wage work than any other major industrialized nation does. Again, not great numbers if you’re trying to win the future in an era of ultra global competitiveness.
Folks, you can’t build the future with minimum-wage service jobs. The short-term political victories touted by Governor Scott are going to have long-term effects on Florida’s economy. Rather than invest in projects that would require private sector hiring booms in construction, transportation, manufacturing, agriculture and yes, healthcare, Governor Scott begged multinational corporations like Amazon, Staples, and others with dreams of low taxes and even more subsidies for their troubles. Rick Scott’s economic plan is to maximize corporate profits statewide in the hopes that the rewards will trickle down throughout the economy. We’ve heard this tune before not only in Florida but in other states and on the national stage as well. But time and time again these arcane and out-of-touch formulas for economic growth are rejected by voters because they are not applicable in today’s more competitive, more globalized, and more technologically advanced world. Rick Scott and the Republican Party of Florida are choosing economic ideas from the past in attempt to build a stable and growing Florida economy for the future and will only lead to more headaches and another mess we (and future Floridians) will have to clean up and pay for later.
Stick with TFS for more on #ItsNotWorking.