Accuracy in Media

That good news from the June jobs report – unemployment falling to a post-pandemic best 11.1 percent, a record 4.8 million jobs added, far exceeding expectations? Don’t believe it, mainstream media says.

The jobs report “offers a snapshot of the economy that was already somewhat out of date as soon as it was issued,” wrote NPR’s Scott Horsley in “Hiring Surge in June. Employers Added 4.8 Million Jobs Before New Spike in Infections.”

“The reality of the job market is now likely far bleaker,” Politico reported.  

The jobs report, released alongside another that said 1.4 million Americans filed for unemployment last week, “highlight[s] the ongoing anguish in the labor market some three months into the novel coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.,” wrote Catherine Thorbrecke of ABC News.

She did not note that both figures are signs of progress – nearly 2 million filed for unemployment in early June and 1.5 million per week in mid-June.

The data was better than economists predicted, and unemployment fell more than expected in the second straight month of blockbuster growth, CNN admitted in “The US economy created 4.8 million jobs in June. But that’s not the whole story,” by Anneken Tappe.

“But after two months of rampant growth, the American economy is still down nearly 14.7 million jobs since February …” and unemployment “remains higher than at any point during the Great Recession,” which occurred on President Barack Obama’s watch.

Tappe went on to write that 404,000 black workers had gained employment in June – the second-highest on record.

“That’s true,” she wrote. “But like the other jobs data, the gains follow a steep decline.”

The New York Times included negativity in its lead. “Employers added 4.8 million jobs in June,” but the “recovery was threatened by the recent spike in virus cases.”

The Washington Post went one better and included negativity in its headline: “The U.S. economy added 4.8 million jobs in June, but fierce new headwinds have emerged.”

The lead on the story by Eli Rosenberg, Heather Long and Jeff Stein pointed out the figures were “based on a survey taken mid-month” to imply things were not so rosy anymore.

Instead of noting the decline in unemployment claims, the Post noted this “marked the 15th straight week of unemployment claims that exceeded 1 million, a sign that the economic recovery has not taken hold for many Americans.”

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