CNBC ‘Street Sweetie’ Bucks Media Trend; Says Job Number Isn’t So Bad

NewsBusters.org - Media Research Center"January Jobs Number: Beware! It Might Not Be True," the caption read at the bottom of the screen on CNBC's February 1 "Street Signs."

The number of payroll jobs declined for the first time in more than four years on February 1, but "Street Signs" host Erin Burnett explained, this jobs report might not be as bad as it has been reported elsewhere - like today's story posted on CBSNews.com - "U.S. Economy Suffers Another Body Blow."

"[T]here's a system out there where basically what happens is the government makes some assumptions about how many jobs are created or lost every month," Burnett explained. "How many businesses are created - they can't check it every single month, so they have to make some assumptions. It turns out if you look out over history they always do the ‘businesses dying estimate' in the month of January - as a matter of fact, always in the month of January."

According to the U.S. Labor Department, payroll jobs fell by 17,000 in January after an 82,000 gain in December. But January is traditionally a disappointment. Burnett pointed to historical data to demonstrate this trend.

"Last year [2007] they assumed 193,000 jobs were lost in January," Burnett said. "The year before [2006] - 280,000. The year before [2005] 321,000. The year before [2004] 211,000. Now, it just puts today's number in context since we did see an unexpected drop in jobs., the first overall drop that this economy had registered in four-and-a-half years."