Fla. Unemployment Numbers Deceiving?

Rick Scott is anything if not focused. From his campaign in 2010 to virtually every public appearance as governor.

Scott's only big priority is to create jobs, and he's using Florida's unemployment rate as his track record.

It now stands at 8.6 percent, down by three points since the governor took office, but a new report by state economists is casting doubt on the accuracy of that number.

The report finds most of the decline in the unemployment rate is because more of Florida's unemployed aren't being counted.

A big reason for that is many of them are no longer eligible for unemployment benefits because of tough new guidelines passed by the GOP legislature and signed into law by the governor.

But when asked about the impact of his policy, he's as upbeat as ever.

"This is the land of opportunity," the governor said. "This is where I can live my version of the American dream, and that version is, I can get a job, I can support my family, I can have children, make sure that they can get a great education, so I think it's a real positive when people are able to get a job."

Since taking office, the governor's tried to put a new face on Florida's jobs picture, even going so far as to change the name and logo of the agency that doles out unemployment checks.

But critics call the new report evidence of a very bold and blatant act of deception.

"It's amazingly simple, and I guess, in a way, brilliant."

Labor organizer Rich Templin says he's not surprised to hear the economists say if everybody out of a job were counted, the unemployment rate would be nearly one point higher, at 9.5 percent.

When people who have been laid off find out they're not eligible for unemployment, all too often, they call him.

"It's been real easy over the past two years to beat up on the unemployed," Templin said. "It's been real easy over the past two years to say, 'they need to be drug tested' or they need this or they need that, and I think that is his overall economic policy, and it's just been a failure."

Even if that's true, the governor's been winning the day by pointing to that plummeting line - a line we now know may not be going down nearly as far.

Scott has scaled back his 700,000 jobs plan since taking office. During his campaign he said those jobs would be on top of what economists predicted would be around a million jobs. Now, the governor says 700,000 jobs means just that and not 1.7 million.


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