- Jul 11, 2004
- Reaction score
links in article at site
posted at 2:31 pm on October 6, 2012 by Ed Morrissey
Yesterday’s jobs report from the BLS had an interesting analogue in history.
The month before the 2004 election — also a contest for an incumbent President’s re-election — the jobs report for September turned out to be rather weak. The BLS reported a net increase of only 96,000 jobs, weaker than the previous several months, and as it turned out only a short-term blip in a fairly strong recovery of jobs from a lingering recession. That’s slightly weaker than yesterday’s +114,000, and in September 2004 the jobless rate remained unchanged at 5.4%, but it’s close enough to compare the media coverage of then and now.
Let’s start with the New York Times. How did they lead their coverage in October 2004 of the September jobs report?
Employment growth in the United States slowed last month, falling far short of expectations, the U.S. government reported Friday.
The new jobs report cast doubts on the strength of the U.S. economic expansion and appeared to bolster Senator John Kerry’s case against President George W. Bush’s handling of the economy just hours before the second presidential debate.
The Labor Department reported that the U.S. economy added just 96,000 jobs in September, substantially less than the roughly 150,000 needed to keep pace with the expansion in the labor force and start absorbing the slack in the job market.
How did they report yesterday’s jobs report? Let’s just say they gave it a … different emphasis:
The jobless rate abruptly dropped in September to its lowest level since the month President Obama took office, indicating a steadier recovery than previously thought and delivering another jolt to the presidential campaign.
The improvement lent ballast to Mr. Obama’s case that the economy is on the mend and threatened the central argument of Mitt Romney’s candidacy, that Mr. Obama’s failed stewardship is reason enough to replace him.
Employers added a modest 114,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department reported on Friday, but estimates for what had been disappointing gains in July and August were revised upward to more respectable levels.
In 2004, a jobless rate of 5.4% “cast doubt” on the economy, and suddenly 7.8% is a sign of “a steadier recovery.”
In 2012, the NYT never even mentions the need to grow jobs by 150,000 each month to keep up with expansion in the labor force. Not even once.
All right, that’s the New York Times. No one expects them to be unbiased. How about PBS? (Stop laughing, you guys.) Believe it or not, they did marginally better, only because they didn’t get so in the tank in 2004:
all of it here but remember folks, they tell us there is NO BIAS from the lamstream MEDIA
Pre-election media on jobs reports, then and now « Hot Air