Networks Overlook 810,000 New Jobs

     It took the Department of Labor several months to locate 810,000 new jobs it had overlooked – but network news still hasn’t found them, despite the agency’s report on October 6.

     The employment report was full of positive news: unemployment down to 4.6 percent; 51,000 new jobs created in September; job creation revisions of 60,000 for August and 10,000 for July and the piece de resistance: 810,000 more new jobs from March 2005 to March 2006.

     The networks barely mentioned any of the news, and none reported the huge revision to the past year’s numbers.

     Print media were more forthcoming. Investor’s Business Daily called it “the biggest upward revision in at least 10 years” on October 9, the same day The Wall Street Journal labeled it the “whoops” report.

     The Journal’s editorial asked the question other media didn’t: How did the Labor Department overlook 810,000 new jobs? “Most of the media has ignored all this and instead focused on the disappointing 51,000 ‘new jobs’ number from the establishment survey for September,” the editorial said.

     The Washington Post, which had reported the numbers on October 7, even highlighted the revision again in its October 8 Business Briefing.

     “Unemployment is down to 4.6 percent, the lowest in five years, the Labor Department reported, adding with some embarrassment that it had suddenly discovered an estimated 810,000 net new jobs that it had somehow overlooked in the year ended in March,” wrote Steven Pearlstein. “And in such a tight labor market, it’s no surprise that average wages are rising faster than inflation for the first time in years.”

     But ABC and CBS had no segments on the employment report through the weekend, although CBS viewers might have gotten a whiff of the news from a clip of President Bush amidst coverage of the Mark Foley scandal.

     “NBC Nightly News” on October 6 devoted just three sentences to the department’s report. Anchor Brian Williams said, “While the U.S. job market grew by only 51,000 jobs across the whole country last month, the previous two months were revised upward, and the employment rate did tick down a notch to 4.6 percent.”

     CNN’s “In the Money” provided better coverage October 7. Host Jack Cafferty discussed the job creation figures for September as well as the July and August revisions with his guest John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. They also talked about the drop in unemployment – but still neglected the 810,000-job revision.

     While The New York Times did not laud the additional 810,000 jobs created, and wrote a negative economic story on October 7, they did report the estimated revision.