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Thursday, December 23, 2021
CNS Unemployment Coverage Distortion Watch
Topic: reporter Susan Jones primed the upcoming report on November's emloyment numbers with a Dec. 1 article noting that both Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell agree that the "single most important thing" that will bring workers back into the workforce is "getting past the COVID-induced disruptions." She also tried to justify her selective obsession with the labor force participation rate (which occurs only when a Democrat is president) by cheering a Republican senator referencing it, then adding:

According to the Congressional Budget Office, "Labor force participation is an important component of economic growth: As more people participate in the labor force, firms are able to expand employment and increase production."  

Moreover, CBO notes: "Greater labor force participation is associated with higher tax revenues because the number of employed people, and therefore the number of people paying income and payroll taxes, tends to rise. It is also associated with lower spending on means-tested programs (which provide cash payments or other forms of assistance to people with relatively low income or few assets), such as Medicaid, and on refundable tax credits.”

Thus, in her Dec. 3 article after November's numbers came out, she led once again with the labor force particiipation rate, though it was actually good news:

In November, 99,977,000 people in this country did not have a job and were not looking for one -- a decrease of 473,000 since October and the lowest number since Joe Biden became president, the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday.

This number reached a record high of 103,418,000 in April 2020, the fourth month of the coronavirus pandemic, and it has remained above 100,000,000 for 14 straight months until now.

Among those not in the labor force in November, 1.2 million people said were prevented from looking for work due to the pandemic, little changed from October.

Interestingly, Jones avoided mentioning who was president in April 2020. Also interestingly, she waited until the 11th paragraph of her article to mention the very good news that the unemployment rate went down to 4.2 percent. But Trump did get a name-check from Jones, when she once again reminded us of how good the economy was under him before the pandemic:

The labor force participation rate reached a Trump-era high of 63.4 percent in January 2020, just before the onset of COVID. In April 2020, the rate fell to a 47-year low of 60.2 percent. It has moved up since then, but until this month, it remained within a narrow range of 61.4 percent to 61.7 percent since June 2020.

Jones also rehashed her obsession with the labor force rate again, while also looking down on anyone who isn't working:

BLS describes labor force participation as an important labor market measure because it represents the relative amount of labor resources available for the production of goods and services.

Also, people who work contribute payroll and Social Security taxes that help support programs for people who do not work.

CNS didn't supply any of its usual sidebars on government employmenet and Hispanic employment. Perhaps that news was too good, and good economic news when a Democrat is president is bad news for CNS.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:55 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, January 20, 2022 1:49 PM EST

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