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Sunday, December 4, 2016
CNS Unemployment Numbers Distortion Watch

November's job numbers were reasonably good -- 178,000 new jobs were created and the unemployment rate dropped to 4.6 percent. -- as is its partisan mission -- had to distract from that good news.

As usual, the main story by Susan Jones emphasized the labor force participation rate, which is not a reliable measure of unemployment. She didn't report the number of jobs created until the 10th paragraph, and she waited until near the end of the article to allude to why focusing on the labor force participation rate is meaningless: much of it is made up of students and the retired, who are not looking for jobs.

But CNS also churned out four more articles to downplay the good news:

Michael W. Chapman wrote about the high black unemployment rate, yet again failing to put the number into context -- black unemployment has always been double that of white unemployment.

Chapman also touted what he called was "real unemployment rate ," a factual misnomer since that particular number counts people are employed part-time but seeking full-time work.

Jones wrote an article about how "The economy lost 4,000 manufacturing jobs between October and November," but she ignores CNS' own research showing that manufacturing jobs have been on a steady overall decline for about 30 years.

Chapman tossed out one last bit of cherry-picking with an article claiming that "the number of American workers unemployed for 15 weeks or more was 2,933,000." But Chapman omits the fact that this is the first time sinceJune 2008 that this number has been below 3 million, and that the number is one-third of that in April 2010, at the height of the recession. But that would have been good news, and Chapman doesn't want to report any of that while Obama is president.

Mesnwhile, the Media Research Center at large is apparently getting into the distrction business as well. A Dec. 2 post by Sam Dorman highlights how Fox Business' Stuart Varney called the numbers "weak" and how his Fox Business colleague Ashley Webster criticized the weakness of the Obama recovery, arguing that the country was seven years into a recovery and the labor force participation rate continued its decline."Dorman then cited the CNS article touting the high labor force participation rate -- but not that baby-boomer retirees are helping to drive up that number.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:09 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, December 4, 2016 9:44 PM EST

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