Sean Spicer refuses to say what the unemployment rate is

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White House press secretary Sean Spicer did not want to settle on what the unemployment rate was during an exchange with a reporter during Monday’s press briefing.

Spicer was asked point blank, “What is the national unemployment rate?”

He responded by citing that there are “several versions” put out by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The press secretary later said that President Donald Trump “sees people that are hurting” and “it’s not just a number to him, adding the president is “not focused on statistics” but “if people are doing better off.”

“I think that’s where his head is at,” he said, adding that previously “it’s been about what number we’re looking at instead of what face we’re looking at.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies people are unemployed if they do not have a job, are available to work, and have sought jobs within the past month. It does not count retirees, students, caretakers, and people who are not seeking work as being a part of the labor force, of which the unemployment rate is calculated from.

For January, the national unemployment rate was 4.7 percent. The labor force participation rate was 62.7 percent.

Trump has previously doubted the validity of the unemployment rate, saying in early December during an Iowa rally that it is “totally fiction.”

“If you look for a job for six months and then you give up, they consider you give up,” he said. “You just give up. You go home. You say, ‘Darling, I can’t get a job.’ They consider you statistically employed. It’s not the way. But don’t worry about it because it’s going to take care of itself pretty quickly.”

During the campaign, he said the unemployment rate was really 42%, which obviously was including the millions of people who are not counted as a part of the labor force.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer speaks during a daily briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House January 23, 2017 in Washington, DC. Spicer conducted his first official White House daily briefing to take questions from the members of the White House press corps.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer (L) takes questions during a daily briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House January 23, 2017 in Washington, DC. Spicer conducted his first official White House daily briefing to take questions from the members of the White House press corps.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer holds the daily press briefing January 23, 2017 at the White House in Washington, DC.

(NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer holds the daily press briefing January 23, 2017 at the White House in Washington, DC.

(NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Rivals Brad Woodhouse (left) and Sean Spicer pose for a photograph outside Bullfeathers in Washington, D.C. on November 08, 2011. Sean Spicer and Brad Woodhouse (spokesmen for the RNC and DNC) hosts Congressional and other flacks to the 1st Annual ‘Flacks for Flacks Who Wear Flak Jackets’ Benefiting Military Public Affairs Officers serving in Afghanistan.

(Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Sean Spicer, White House press secretary, center, attends a swearing in ceremony of White House senior staff in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017. Trump today mocked protesters who gathered for large demonstrations across the U.S. and the world on Saturday to signal discontent with his leadership, but later offered a more conciliatory tone, saying he recognized such marches as a hallmark of our democracy.

(Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Sean Spicer, left, is the new communications director for the Republican National Committee, and Rick Wiley, is the RNC� new political director.

(Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images)

Sean Spicer, White House press secretary, arrives to a swearing in ceremony of White House senior staff in the East Room of the White House on January 22, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump today mocked protesters who gathered for large demonstrations across the U.S. and the world on Saturday to signal discontent with his leadership, but later offered a more conciliatory tone, saying he recognized such marches as a ‘hallmark of our democracy.’

(Photo by Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images)

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer makes a statement to members of the media at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House January 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. This was Spicer’s first press conference as Press Secretary where he spoke about the media’s reporting on the inauguration’s crowd size.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Stephen Miller(L) and Sean Spicer, arrive to meet with US President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower in New York on January 10, 2017.

(BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer makes a statement to members of the media at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House January 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. This was Spicer’s first press conference as Press Secretary where he spoke about the media’s reporting on the inauguration’s crowd size.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer takes a photo with his cell phone on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today’s inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Sean Spicer, a spokesman for the House Republican Conference, updates waiting media on progress of the meeting as House Republicans, eager to put a fresh face on their leadership team as they head into difficult November elections, chose John A. Boehner of Ohio as their new majority leader. Boehner beat out interim Majority Leader Roy Blunt of Missouri on the second ballot, 122-109. John Shadegg of Arizona, a late entrant into the race, was knocked out on the first ballot, when he drew 40 votes to 79 for Boehner and 110 for Blunt. Jim Ryun of Kansas drew two votes.

(Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images)

Sean Spicer, incoming press secretary for President-elect Donald Trump leaves from Trump Tower after meetings on January 5, 2017, in New York.

(KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)

Chief Strategist and Communications Director at the Republican National Committee, Sean Spicer is interviewed in his office at the committee’s headquarters on Monday August 15, 2016 in Washington, DC.

(Photo by Matt McClain/ The Washington Post via Getty Images)

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