The Job Numbers, in Context

Context is one of the most important things a journalist can provide.

There’s the old joke of a sportscaster giving out scores on the nightly news; 5 to 2, 7 to 0, 3 to 1. Without team names the numbers are useless, and the joke is funny when it comes to sports.

The Activist Old Media uses similar methods when it comes to the monthly unemployment numbers. They report the number of jobs that were “created” in a month, then fail to measure it against the number needed just to break even.

69,000 jobs created in May. In an onscreen graphic, CNN calls this the number of "jobs gained." What does that mean? Let’s add context. It takes at least 90,000 jobs created per month just for America to break even with job growth. That is the standard. As job growth is critical to this nation's future, it’s important to know what the “break even” number is. Some have said the break even number is as high as 150,000 a month (New York Times number); for the sake of argument, we'll take the lower number (don't say we don't give Obama a break).

90,000 to break even with job growth is a number that every American should know when they are told employment figures, but few do. The media fails to provide that context.

Instead of saying 69,000 jobs were "gained" in May, it should be reported that, “overall the economy lost at least 21,000 jobs.” In every graphic produced by the media, and in every report by the media, that 90,000 number should be considered.

When you take the last three months into consideration, the number overall is 40,000 jobs lost--230,000 jobs “created” and 270,000 needed to break even. Even an old sports guy like me can do this math. This is a simple and easy way for people to understand this vital issue, and it paints the pathetic picture that the Obama Administration and Activist Old Media apparently want to hide.

The Obama Administration likes to boast how many jobs were “created” in a month and they will never, never subtract the 90,000 “break even” number. Okay, they are partisans, so we can’t expect honesty from them. But we should expect it from the media. Whenever Barack Obama touts his success at “creating” jobs, the math should be done. And don’t get me started on the “jobs saved” number; that is just a joke and anybody using it should be ridiculed. I believe Obama feels that as Dear Leader, he has “saved” all of our jobs. 

The 8.2% unemployment figure is another issue, and there is more deception there. The Feds ignore people who have left the job market, and over the last three years they have reduced the number of jobs available, which makes the percentage lower than it actually is. Another column for another day.

I know the message consultants and management types would give us in newsrooms, and it would be to keep the information simple and straight. So, there you have it.  I have simplified the information for my friends in the media to help them better communicate with their viewers/readers/listeners. I charge you nothing for my consultation here; times are tough out there.


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