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Fla. Unemployment Rate Not As Rosy As It Appears, Discouraged Job Seekers A Factor

Florida’s jobless figure may look like it’s improving. But, looks can be deceiving, because the state’s top economist says about 90-percent of the decline in the state’s unemployment rate is really due to people giving up the job search.

Governor Rick Scott says his job creation efforts have led to the steady drop in the state’s unemployment rate.  When Scott took office, the rate was at 11.1 percent. Now that number is down to 8.8 for July. While Scott says it’s unfortunate about 800,000 people are still out of a job, he says things are looking up:

“We’ve had the biggest drop in unemployment of any state in the country in the last 19 months, down by 2.3 percent," said Scott. "So, that’s all positive.”

But, the state’s top economist Amy Baker says what’s really causing the decrease are people disappointed in the job hunt, who are giving up.

“Because they’re sitting on the sidelines waiting for some positive signals that it’s worthwhile to go looking for a job again, [we believe] that that’s what’s caused the decline in the unemployment rate,” said Baker.

If discouraged job seekers were included in the state’s unemployment numbers, economists estimate the current rate would be at about 9.8 percent, instead of 8.8.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.