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Governor and First Lady Scott Light Christmas Tree

TALLAHASSEE – Governor Rick Scott and First Lady Ann Scott participated in the ceremonial lighting of the official 2013 Cabinet Christmas tree with Commissioner Adam Putnam, Attorney General Pam Bondi, and CFO Jeff Atwater.

Governor Scott said, "Ann and I are honored to help light the official 2013 Florida State Capitol Christmas tree. Christmas is a time where families and friends gather to celebrate the year's blessings. In the weeks ahead, we look forward to spending time with our family and celebrating our new grandsons' first Christmas. We hope every Florida family has a happy and safe Christmas season."

In addition to the tree presentation, First Lady Ann Scott also placed the inaugural 2013 ornament on this year's tree.

Michael and Linda Songer, owners of Songer's Christmas Tree Farm in Middleburg, FL donated the Red Cedar tree as this year's official 2013 Cabinet Christmas tree.

There are close to 14,000 Christmas trees harvested each year in Florida, and the Red Cedar tree is one of only six types of trees that are grown in Florida.


FCAT Achievement Reading and Math

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.– During the past year, Florida minority students made progress in closing the achievement gap on several national and state level measures. African American and Hispanic students made more improvement from 2011 to 2013 on National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) assessments in reading and mathematics, performance and participation in Advanced Placement (AP), FCAT 2.0 Reading and Mathematics and Algebra I End-of-Course assessments and Florida's graduation rate.

Governor Scott said, "I am very proud of Florida's students, teachers and parents for showing that together we can all prepare our next generation for success in college and careers. Together we can keep improving to make life better for all Floridians."

National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)
Florida is the only state to have narrowed the achievement gap between White and African American students at both grades 4 and 8 in both reading and mathematics. Also, the percentage of Florida's Hispanic and African-American 4th and 8th grade students scoring at or above Basic in reading is significantly higher than the nation. This is also true for Florida's grade 4 mathematics Hispanic and African-American students.

FCAT 2.0 and End-Of-Course Assessments

On FCAT 2.0 and Algebra I End-of-Course assessments, Florida's Hispanic and African American students narrowed the gap in reading across grade levels and significantly narrowed the gap in Algebra I.

Advanced Placement

On 2013 Advanced Placement (AP) results, Florida is the only state in the nation among those with a large Hispanic/Latino population (20 percent or greater) in its graduating class to eliminate the participation and performance gap. Hispanics/Latinos made up almost 25 percent of the 2012 graduating class, yet they made up 26 percent of AP exam test takers and 29 percent of AP exam takers scoring 3 or higher.

Florida's Black/African American graduates have progressed in both participation and success on AP over the last ten years. In 2012, almost 15 percent of the high school graduates who had taken an AP exam were Black/African American, up from a little more than nine percent in 2002. In 2012, 7.4 percent of African American graduates scored 3 or higher on AP exams, rising from 5.6 percent in 2002.


Statewide Unemployment Rate Falls To 6.7 Percent

ORLANDO, Fla. – Governor Rick Scott today announced that the statewide unemployment rate for September 2013 was 6.8 percent and 6.7 percent for October 2013. The statewide unemployment rate has remained below the national average of 7.3 percent since March 2013. Florida has created 440,900 private sector jobs since December 2010.

Governor Scott said, "Florida's unemployment rate is now below seven percent at 6.7 percent in October 2013. This is our eighth month below the national average. Over the last two months, the state has added more than 67,000 private sector jobs. This is great news for Florida families.

"Our total job creation is now at 440,900, but we have more work to do. We don't just want a state where job creation reaches a certain number, or unemployment falls to a certain number. We want to create an opportunity economy. We want a state with dynamic, growing industries that will create jobs and careers for generations to come."

The state gained 20,800 private sector jobs in September 2013 and 46,400 private sector jobs in October 2013. Florida's annual job growth rate from October 2012 to October 2013 is the fastest since June 2006. With 46,400 new private sector jobs last month, this is the most growth in a month since December 2010. Florida's annual job growth rate has exceeded or been equal to the nation's job growth rate since March 2012.

"Today's numbers represent another successful chapter in Florida's remarkable turnaround story under the Scott Administration," said Jesse Panuccio, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. "We continue to outpace the nation with respect to job growth, job demand, and unemployment decline, which is further proof that policy matters and the Governor's pro-growth agenda is working."

Since December 2010, Florida's statewide unemployment rate has dropped 4.4 percentage points, from a rate of 11.1 percent to October's rate of 6.7 percent. Florida's September 2013 rate was down 0.2 percentage point from the August rate of 7.0 percent, and the rate fell another 0.1 percentage point in October 2013. The current rate of 6.7 percent represents the lowest statewide unemployment rate since August 2008. It is also a decrease of 1.5 percentage points from October 2012, when the rate was 8.2 percent. Florida's unemployment rate has now declined year-over-year for 36 consecutive months.

More Jobs Being Created

  • Florida experienced positive annual job growth for 39 consecutive months.
  • Florida's job growth month-to-month has been positive for 26 of the last 28 months.
  • Florida has created 440,900 new private sector jobs since December 2010.
  • Florida is expected to create more than 1 million new jobs by 2018, according to the Florida Economic Estimating Conference.
  • Florida job postings compiled by the Help Wanted OnLine data series from The Conference Board showed 258,128 openings in October 2013 (seasonally adjusted).

Home Sales Robust

  • Home sales remain robust as the backlog of existing homes on the market is down by 36 percent from November 2011 (Florida Realtors).
  • Florida median home prices were up 16.6 percent over the year in October 2013.
  • Florida housing starts were up 30.7 percent over the year in August 2013 (latest data available).

Economic Growth Trends Up Across State

  • A recent U.S. Census Survey reported that Florida experienced an influx of people moving into the state. Florida also led the nation in migrations from Puerto Rico.
  • Florida is running a trade surplus of over $18 billion – with $90.4 billion in exports and $71.8 billion in imports in 2012, up from $86.8 billion in exports in 2011 and $62.4 billion in imports in 2011.

Workforce Boards Assisting in Employment

  • In October, Florida's 24 Regional Workforce Boards reported more than 48,400 Floridians were placed in jobs. An individual who receives employment and training assistance through a One-Stop Career Center and finds a job within 180 days is deemed a placement and may be reported by a regional workforce board. Of these individuals, 14,119 previously received Reemployment Assistance.
  • In 2012, more than 426,000 Floridians were placed in jobs, with 111,173 former claimants finding employment.

To view the September and October 2013 monthly employment data visit:

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