The unemployment rate in June plummeted to 6.1 percent with the addition of 288,000 new jobs. Additionally the stock market topped 17,000 for the first time in history. . Forbes has it listed as one of their top stories on their main page. On Google, the top 10 news stories that appear for “June jobs report,” other than Forbes, are The Wall Street Journal, CNNMoney, USAToday, Politico, Santa Cruz Sentinel, Washington Post, The Times-Picayune, PBS Newshour and The Huffington Post (this is for today, July 4. The jobs report came out yesterday). While most of these publications have since moved them out of the main story position, it’s still featured prominently on several, which is also true of other outlets. Except for Fox News.
Fox News, according to HuffPo, seemed to be trying to downplay the robust jobs report on their main page, making it a tiny link under the stock ticker and weather report. The headline was also bland: “U.S. Economy Tacks on 288,000 jobs in June,” whereas, for CNN, it was considered breaking news just an hour earlier.
Business Insider also discussed Fox News’ lack of enthusiasm for the jobs numbers, and pointed out that, on the air, they tried to play down the drop in unemployment by claiming that the real unemployment rate is twice what the government is reporting now. However, the number that Fox News cites comes from “total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers plus total employed part-time for economic reasons, as a percent of all civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers.” The number itself is what the Bureau of Labor Statistics calls U6, however some economists (like some over at Cato) criticize the idea that this number actually represents the real number of unemployed.
The U6 number is often misused, but its popularity might have to do with the fact that it makes jobs news look worse, which follows the “if it bleeds, it leads” mantra and can serve a specific agenda. Instead of daring to make Obama look good by reporting the standard unemployment rate, which fell to 6.1%, Fox News will play their old and tired tricks, and more or less call him and the BLS liars. Would they report the U6 number if they liked the person in the White House? Probably not.
While the U6 number did creep back up a half a percentage point from May to June, it’s fallen dramatically over the last four years, since the height of the recession, along with the standard unemployment rate. As for why so much of our added jobs are low-wage jobs, ask the GOP. We’re still largely living under their economic theories, so they should be able to explain it.