Major Newspapers Ignore
Low Jobless Numbers
Papers that hyped ‘five-year high’
inflation ignored economists citing a strong job market.
By Ken Shepherd
Free Market Project
Jan. 20, 2006
Â Â Â Â
Jobless claims hit a five-year low in mid-January according to
figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on January 19.
Reuters reported the news in full articles, The New York Times
buried the item at the bottom of a Business Day report on housing
starts. The Washington Post relegated the news to one sentence in an
Associated Press business brief, and USA Today ignored the story
altogether – although the day before, those same papers hyped a
five-year high in the overall inflation rate.
Â Â Â Â “The Labor Department said initial jobless claims fell
by 36,000, to 271,000, in the week ended Jan. 14,” read a January 19
Bloomberg article, which went on to note that “Economists had
expected a reading of 309,000. The four-week moving average, a less
volatile measure, also fell to the lowest in more than five years.”
Â Â Â Â “The labor market remains tight and employment is on a
solid footing,” economist Doug Porter told Bloomberg News. Reuters
found an economist with a similar view. The “bottom line is the
labor market is not weakening and is probably strengthening,” the
British news service quoted Decision Economics senior economist
Â Â Â Â While USA Today and The Washington Post left out the
positive economic news, New York Times reporter Vikas Bajaj buried
it in at the bottom of a negatively slanted story on housing starts.
Â Â Â Â In his January 20 article, “Pace
of New Home Construction Fell Sharply in December,” Bajaj
focused on the December dip in housing starts but left out that 2005
was still a record year for housing. “An estimated 2,064,700 housing
units were started in 2005. This is 5.6 percent (±1.9%) above the
2004 figure of 1,955,800,” reported the Commerce Department in its
January 19 news release.
Â Â Â Â The
Free Market Project previously documented how USA Today and The
Washington Post were quick to tout “five-year high” figures for
inflation, even though core inflation, which excludes volatile food
and fuel prices, remained unchanged from the previous year’s low 2.2