Plenty of Praise for July Jobs Report from Networks

Released on Friday morning, the latest jobs report from the Labor Department touted a net growth of 209,000 jobs in July. On Friday evening, the report was promoted on all three of the major broadcast networks, ranging from news briefs by ABC and NBC to a full report from CBS. While there was plenty of praise and even an ounce of positive news, the networks mostly failed to note that the economy still has a long way to go.

Over on the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley, substitute anchor James Brown provided a neutral outlook that while “[e]mployers added 209,000 jobs last month,” it was “not enough to meet demand” due to the fact that “[a]s more workers enter the job hunt, the unemployment rate ticked up to 6.2%.” His summary was followed by a report from CBS News senior business correspondent Anthony Mason in which Mason profiled a woman who recently found a job after being laid off in 2011. [MP3 audio here; Video below]

Here’s more from Mason regarding more details from the report: “Employers added 209,000 jobs last month, but not enough to meet demand. As more workers enter the job hunt, the unemployment rate ticked up to 6.2%.” 

Mason also interviewed an economist with Morgan Stanley who noted that growth in jobs will indeed lead to wage growth. The economist told him that: “[T]he economy is strengthening. Fundamentally, we are getting better and this long string of strong jobs reports is providing proof of that.”  

In closing out the segment, Mason said that: “In 2009, there were six unemployed workers for every job opening. Now that ratio is down to only two to one.”

Over on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, both networks filed news briefs on the topic of 21 and 23 seconds, respectively. Sawyer told viewers that: 

And we have news now about the unemployed Americans going back to work. Today, the government said 209,000 people found jobs in July. It’s now a six-month streak of more than 200,000. The president said today the 53 month job creation is the longest streak of private sector job creation in history. 

Meanwhile, Williams briefed his audience on the news by reporting that: 

The president also spoke out about the strengthening economy today after the jobs report showed that employers added 209,000 jobs in July. That makes the six months in a row for at least 200,000 jobs added, first time that's happened since 1997. Unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 6.2% as more Americans resumed looking for work.

While much of the report is a slight tick in the positive direction, others say that growth is not where it should be. James Sherk of the Heritage Foundation described the report as “a story of not much better and not much worse” with “few signs of the robust growth many economists hoped for – and expected.”

Sherk noted that part-time employment remained nearly identical from June, when it was hoped that part-time employment would drop. The measures of part-time employment remaining steady is a sign that “the labor market remains weaker than the headline figures suggest.”

As Ali Meyer at CNS News reported, the month of July was not particularly strong for women as “[t]he number of unemployed women 16 years and over increased by 227,000 in July as the unemployment rate for women ticked up from 5.9 percent to 6.2 percent.”

[Full-disclosure: I interned at the Heritage Foundation from September 2013 to December 2013, as I have noted on my Newsbusters bio page.]


The transcript from the August 1 news brief on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer is transcribed below. 

ABC 

ABC World News with Diane Sawyer

August 1, 2014

6:39 p.m. Eastern

DIANE SAWYER: And we have news now about the unemployed Americans going back to work. Today, the government said 209,000 people found jobs in July. It’s now a six-month streak of more than 200,000. The president said today the 53 month job creation is the longest streak of private sector job creation in history. 

The complete transcript from the segment that aired on the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley on August 1 is transcribed below.

CBS 

CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley

August 1, 2014

6:42 p.m. Eastern

JAMES BROWN: Now to the economy. Today's report from the Labor Department shows the job market is improving. Employers added 209,000 jobs last month, but not enough to meet demand. As more workers enter the job hunt, the unemployment rate ticked up to 6.2%. More now from Anthony Mason. 

LORI BARKLEY STRUCKMAN: It's just a great feeling to be back in the workforce, just being out there. 

ANTHONY MASON: Lori Barkley Struckman spent more than two years trying to find a full-time job before she finally was hired again this year. 

STRUCKMAN: And I literally was jumping up and down screaming. I– I– got on the phone. I called my girls. I’m like, “I finally got a job.” This is Lori, how can I help you?

MASON: Working at a Minneapolis law firm since January, the 54-year-old officer administrator had had to get by on temp positions after she was laid off in November of 2011. 

STRUCKMAN: It tears you apart inside and out. You're so defeated from not even getting the chance that, I mean, it's hard to talk about it again, but – put you gotta do it. You gotta keep going. 

MASON: 3.1 million Americans are still counted as long-term unemployed. That means they've been out of work 27 weeks or more, but that's down from 4.2 million a year ago, in part because the economy's added 200,000 or more jobs for six straight months now. We've seen job growth but we really haven't seen much wage growth yet, have we? 

ELLEN ZETNER: No, we haven't, but with the good job growth, we know that better wage growth will come. 

MASON: Ellen Zentner is an economist with Morgan Stanley. 

ZETNER: And so the economy is strengthening. Fundamentally, we are getting better and this long string of strong jobs reports is providing proof of that. 

MASON: One reason for Zentner's optimism about wage growth: In 2009, there were six unemployed workers for every job opening. Now that ratio is down to only two to one. James. 

BROWN: Anthony Mason, thank you.

The transcript from the news brief on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams on August 1 can be found below. 

NBC 

NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams

August 1, 2014

7:12 p.m. Eastern

BRIAN WILLIAMS: The president also spoke out about the strengthening economy today after the jobs report showed that employers added 209,000 jobs in July. That makes the six months in a row for at least 200,000 jobs added, first time that's happened since 1997. Unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 6.2% as more Americans resumed looking for work.

Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck is a news analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division