CNN's Unemployment Error: Kyra Phillips Misreports 60,000 Jobs 'Vanished' in July; Actual Decline Was 131,000

CNN "Newsroom" anchor Kyra Phillips reported the "breaking news" about July's unemployment data just after 9 a.m. Aug. 6. Misreported would be more accurate.

"We begin with the breaking news this morning on a broken economy. We have new evidence of just how feeble the recovery is and how many Americans have nothing to show for it," Phillips said. "The nation's unemployment rate has remained flat at a disheartening 9.5 percent. Just last month 60,000 jobs vanished, the news is bad, but not quite as bad as we expected."

Actually, the news was worse than Phillips reported. The U.S. lost more than twice that many jobs in July: 131,000 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS also revised June data after finding an additional 96,000 lost jobs (June's total losses 221,000).

The private sector did increase hiring by 71,000 in July, which appears to be what confused CNN, but not enough to offset jobs losses. That brings the total private sector hiring since President Obama took office to 705,000 (June and July gains may still be revised).

Obama has fallen far short of his jobs claims. On Jan. 10, 2009, Obama pledged to create or save 3 million to 4 million jobs. "Ninety percent of these jobs will be created in the private sector," Obama continued. To fulfill that promise, the president needs to create 2.7 million to 3.6 million private sector jobs, but will massive job losses during 2009 he is in the hole by more than 3 million.

Adding the 3,224,000 private sector jobs needed to get the U.S. back to where it was before February 2009 to the 2.7 million jobs he promised to create: Obama is 5,924,000 jobs away from his goal.

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Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour is the Assistant Managing Editor for the MRC's Business and Media Institute.