ABCNews.com's Facebook Page Omits Biggest News from September Unemployment Report

Reporting on the latest unemployment reports by the U.S. government, ABCNews's Facebook page curiously left out the most newsworthy statistic: 63.2 percent. That's where the labor force participation rate stands right now. [see screen capture below the page break] It's the lowest it's been since 1978.

But here's how ABCNews's social media editors teased Facebook visitors:


The U.S. economy added 169,000 jobs in August -- a bit weaker than economists expected. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate fell to 7.3%: http://abcn.ws/17JQof4

The linked September 6 story, by Susanna Kim, noted that the labor force participation rate has been steadily declining on President Obama's watch (emphasis mine):

"Clearly the labor market is losing momentum," said Lindsey M. Piegza, managing director and chief economist at Sterne Agee, pointing out that the unemployment rate decreased for "inorganic reasons" as the labor force participation rate fell to 63.2 percent in August, the lowest since 1978.

The participation rate has fallen by 1.6 percentage points since the beginning of 2010.

"Some of this is due to the aging of the workforce but it reflects a weak labor market," said Stephen Bronars, senior economist at Welch Consulting. "The unemployment rate is declining for all the wrong reasons - people are dropping out of the workforce."

The difference in the unemployment rate between educated workers and workers with less schooling continues to widen. College grads face an unemployment rate of 3.5 percent while the unemployment rate is 11.3 percent for high school dropouts.

"There is some good news that more people are working full-time in August than in July, but generally this was a disappointing jobs report," Bronars said.

Given all that, a more engaging, enticing tease for Facebook fans of ABCNews.com would have been something like:

As the labor force participation rate hits a 35-year low, economists are warning that the unemployment rate, now at 7.3%, is "declining for all the wrong reasons." Read more here: http://abcn.ws/17JQof4

Of course, a tease like that would certainly hook in readers, but it would also use a hook unfavorable to President Obama.

 
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters