Gov. Rick Scott holds up his hands and cuts off questioning from a reporter over the state's unemployment rate. "Mike, I said I've answered all your questions on that."
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Just what's the truth about Florida's falling unemployment rate?
Is it an important success for Gov. Rick Scott during his first 20 months in office, or a failure that reveals hopelessness in the workforce?
Florida's unemployment rate stands at 8.8 percent. That's down from 11.1 percent in January 2011, when Gov. Scott took office.
The governor contends his administration is doing a great job and there's a host of improving economic indicators to prove it: tourism, exports, home sales and home prices, are all up. So is new home construction.
Scott points to U.S. Department of Labor figures showing Florida has created 130,000 private sector jobs during his term.
But state economists say the jobless rate is going down because so many people have given up looking for work and dropped out of the workforce.
On Tuesday, Gov. Scott bristled when a reporter asked him to explain why so many people are no longer looking for work.
"That's not true. Mike, look at the chart. Look at the Department of Labor numbers. It's 130,000 jobs. That's 130,000 families that now have work that didn't have it before. (reporter continues) 130,000 jobs Mike. I'm saying we've generated 130,000 jobs. Mike, I've answered all your questions on that. (reporter continues) Mike, I said I've answered all your questions."
The exchange was a marked departure from Gov. Scott's usual demeanor with reporters. He's typically easy-going in his question-and-answer sessions with reporters but clearly, he had enough of the questions from Michael Bender of Bloomberg News on Tuesday.
The governor insisted that the state is "doing very well." He said before he came into office in January, 2011, Florida had lost 800,000 jobs over the previous four years.
First Coast News