There were 192,000 jobs created in March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report released April 4. Some media outlets presented the idea that it was good the numbers weren’t lower than they were. But others including Bloomberg Businessweek latched on to the idea that many more jobs would have been bad for the economy.
Bloomberg Businessweek, The Washington Post’s Wonkblog, and a guest on CNBC all claimed that the jobs report was “not too hot, not too cold.” This is called the “Goldilocks effect,” after the classic childhood story. The argument was that if the jobs report is too good, the Federal Reserve will speed up the taper, which would “trigger a sell off in bonds,” according to the Bloomberg Businessweek article.
Some economists disagreed and said the media were trying to create a story where there is none.
“They have a boring jobs report, and they want to write about it,” said Dr. Salim Furth, Senior Policy Analyst in Data Analysis at the Heritage Foundation.
Furth told the MRC’s Business and Media Institute that even a dramatic increase in jobs wouldn’t lead to a drastic reaction by the Fed. “I think they’re giving the Fed far too little credit for intelligence” he said, adding that the economists as the Federal Reserve were “good economists, and smart enough not to take one report in isolation.”
According to Furth, this type of reporting is based in “The confusion that what’s good for the stock market is bad for the economy.”
During Obama’s presidency, liberal media outlets made a habit of claiming that the economy was doing better than it was, a practice that goes hand-in-hand with reporting that more jobs would actually hurt the economy. In January, liberal economist Mark Zandi argued that weak December jobs numbers would almost certainly be revised “up and revised away.”
In June 2012, ABC’s “Good Morning America” reported incorrect jobs numbers that were more favorable than the actual numbers. Yet, during the Bush administration the network news media did the opposite by talking down the economy. In November 2006, ABC, NBC and CBS all downplayed a strong jobs report that brought the unemployment rate down to a remarkable 4.4 percent.