Not So Merry Jobs Report: Unemployment Up to 9.8 Percent, News Media Disappointed

The unemployment rate rose in November, from 9.6 percent up to 9.8 percent after only 39,000 jobs were added to the workforce. On MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Mark Haines of CNBC called the data "disappointing."

Haines went on to say, "An optimist or a sunny 'glass is half full' kind of person would say the unemployment rate may have ticked up because more people are now looking for work. That's the way that unemployment rate works … but I will grant you that that is a reach."

Although downbeat, CNN's Christine Romans did "reach" for that explanation on "American Morning," saying, "it likely means that more people are trying to get into the labor market to get a job."

Haines also put the jobs report in context of the tax debate raging in Congress right now. He remarked that with those numbers it would "politically very difficult" to raise taxes on anyone.

The total number of unemployed in November was 15.1 million people, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Bloomberg.com had reported Dec. 3, but before the data was released, that payrolls were forecast to increase by 150,000 for the month. The actual November net gain was just over one-quarter of that estimate.

November also marks the 16th straight month of 9.5 percent or higher unemployment rate, "the longest such stretch since records began in 1948," Bloomberg reported.

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