New Reports Point to Strong Economy

     The April 7 network morning news programs ignored data on dropping jobless claims and a rise in consumer confidence, which point to a strong economy. NBC, meanwhile, gave short shrift to a nearly 5-year low in unemployment.

     On April 6, Ipsos polling firm reported a surge in consumer confidence in early April and the Labor Department reported the third straight week of dropping jobless claims.

     Neither Today, ABCs Good Morning America, nor the CBS Early Show carried stories on new consumer confidence or jobless claim trends.

     While NBCs Natalie Morales did report a drop in unemployment and 211,000 new jobs in March, the news desk anchor left out how economists previously estimated only 190,000 jobs and how the 4.7 percent mark matches a 4 -year low met in January.

     Adding Marchs jobs number to revised figures for January and February, 590,000 new jobs were added to the U.S. economy in the first quarter of 2006.

     The bottom line, say economists, is that the economy is performing well.

     The labor market is growing at a pretty good pace,' Global Insight chief economist Nariman Behravesh told Bloomberg News. We're clearly seeing a rebound in the economy from the soft spot we experienced in the fourth quarter, and I think we'll see payroll growth similar to last year, he added.

     While neither ABCs Good Morning America nor the CBS Early Show reported the March job gains, it is likely they did not have the statistics in time for an 8:30 news briefing. The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics embargoes the data until 8:30 a.m. Eastern time on the day of release.