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Sunday, August 7, 2016
CNS Unemployment Numbers Distortion Watch

As usual, the article by Susan Jones on July's unemployment numbers obsesses over the labor force participation rate:

94,333,000 Americans were not in the labor force in July, a slightly better showing than June’s 94,517,000; and the labor force participation rate improved slightly, increasing a tenth of a point to 62.8 percent from June’s 62.7 percent, the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics reorted on Friday.

In September 2015, the labor force participation rate dropped to 62.4 percent, its lowest point since 1977.  The best it’s been since Barack Obama took office is 65.8 percent in February 2009, the month after Obama was sworn in amid a recession.

The labor force participation rate is the percentage of people in the civilian noninstitutionalized population, age 16 or older, who are either working or actively seeking work.

As noted by the Congressional Budget Office, the labor force participation rate reflects people’s decisions about the attractiveness of working or looking for work compared with alternatives such as attending school, caring for family members, or retiring.

But Jones failed to report that the labor force participiation rate is -- as we've noted -- a poor measure of unemployment. As even the conservative American Enterprise Institute has pointed out, 41 million of Americans not in the labor force are retired, a number boosted by retiring baby roomers, and an additional 15 million are not looking for work because they are in school.

If Jones is putting so much emphasis on a bogus number, that means the real number must be good. And it is -- but Jones waits until the fifth paragraph of her article to mention that 255,000 jobs were cfreated in July.

Jones also penned a sidebar highlighing that "government employment increased by 38,000 in July." But had Jones bothered to look into the numbers at all, she would have found -- like Reuters did -- that much of the employment in the government sector had to do with hiring teachers.

Such laziness and dishonesty not only shows us that Jones is a terrible reporter, but also that CNS cares nothing about fair and accurate reporting.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:40 PM EDT

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