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Tuesday, May 26, 2020
What About The 'Real Unemployment Rate' Under Trump, CNS?

One of the starkest contrasts that illustrate the right-wing bias of, as we've detailed, is its treatment of the unemployment rate while Barack Obama was president, compared with how it's treated under President Trump. One of the statistics it embraced under Obama was the U-6 unemployment rate, a different measure than the U-3 unemployment -- the most widely reported number -- because it includes people who are technically not unemployed but are "marginally attached workers" as well as part-time employees who are looking for full-time work. CNS proclaimed this to be the "real unemployment rate," and since it's almost always higher than the official U-3 rate, it touted the number to attack Obama and talk down the post-recession recovery.

Managing editor Michael W. Chapman devoted four articles in 2016 -- the last year of Obama's presidency -- to the "real unemployment rate" and it was mentioned numerous other times during the Obama years. We found no reference to it in CNS' archives before 2010, and neither Chapman nor anyone else at CNS has brought up this number since Trump became president.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U-6 unemployment rate, -- which has generally hovered around 7% over the past year even as the U-3 rate was around 3.5% -- spiked to 22.8 percent in April. Despite CNS spending years proclaiming that this was the "real unemployment rate," this alarmingly high number got no coverage even though much lower numbers under Obama got their own articles.

Instead, CNS serves up attempts to forward Trump's agenda even in the face of those atrocious numbers. A May 15 article by Susan Jones complained that "Foreign-born people in the United States had a lower unemployment rate in 2019 (3.1 percent, down from 3.5 percent in 2018) than native-born Americans (3.8 percent, down from 4.0 percent in 2018)," an apparent attempt to perpetuate the Trump-embraced idea that foreigners are stealing jobs from Americans.

CNS should explain to readers why the "real unemployment rate" stopped being a metric it reported on after Obama left office, and why it won't report on the number now that's even higher than it ever was under Obama.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:58 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, May 26, 2020 3:01 PM EDT

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