AP Sets Dismal Spin to Expectations-beating Employment Report
In reading the Associated Press's 9:09 a.m. report covering the Bureau of Labor Statistics November Employment Situation Report, one can't help but think that it was hoping for worse news than arrived. Unemployment remained at 4.7%, and 94,000 jobs were added during the month, beating expectations of 4.8% and 70,000, respectively.
After spending five paragraphs relaying the news, it began hitting us with negative commentary that almost had to have been drafted in advance (scare words bolded):
Still, a lingering fear among economists is that consumers will cut back on their spending, throwing the economy into a tailspin. The odds of a recession have grown this year, although Federal Reserve officials, the Bush administration and others are hopeful the country can avoid one.
Then, after brief foray into the good news about wage growth (up 0.5% in November, beating expectations of 0.3%), AP wrapped by going into four paragraphs that almost could have been written into a DNC press release (over-the-top negative words and phrases bolded by me):
The housing and mortgage markets have melted down. Home foreclosures have soared to record highs. Credit has dried up. Lenders have been forced out of business. Financial companies have wracked up billions of dollars worth of losses from bad subprime mortgage investments.
Against this backdrop, Wall Street has endured a fresh bout of turbulence in recent weeks.
Given these stresses, the economy, which logged its strongest growth in four years in the third quarter, is expected to slow to a pace of just 1.5 percent or less in the current October-to-December period.
Economic uncertainties are coloring peoples’ views of President Bush’s stewardship. His approval rating on the economy was just 36 percent in December, according to an AP-Ipsos poll. The meltdown in the housing and mortgage markets has raised dangers to the economy and created headaches for politicians. The mess has given Republicans and Democrats plenty of fodder to point blame at each other.
Remember that GDP prediction. I certainly will.
Credit has "dried up"? Not according to HSH Associates, which reported the following on December 5 (bold is mine):
According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, the index of mortgage applications to purchase or refinance, increased by the most in more than three years. Applications increased 22.5% to 791.8. Refinancing rose 32% to 2761.3, while purchasing rose 15% to 464.3.
If (mortgage) credit has "dried up," I would expect that all of these unfortunate applicants are wasting their time, and will be summarily turned down. You and I know that's not true. So does AP.Cross-posted in modified form as part of this entry at BizzyBlog.com.