Friday, June 08, 2007

Jobless Claims: Fox vs. USA Today vs. Readers

Yesterday, the department of labor released their latest Unemployment Claims weekly report. This gives us a great opportunity to compare media coverage to direct source material.

From the report itself:
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 261,509 in the week ending June 2, a decrease of 12,407 from the previous week. There were 260,263 initial claims in the comparable week in 2006."
Fox News leads by saying:
"The number of U.S. workers signing up for unemployment aid edged down slightly last week, the Labor Department said on Thursday in a report underscoring stability in the labor market despite sluggish growth."

The USA Today also accentuated the positive by stating "the report suggest[ed] that the labor market remains healthy despite a slowdown in economic growth." Basically, the argument in both cases is that with fewer people filing claims, more people must be working, YAY!

So, who out there wants to take on the negative? Well, for one, the claim drop did not happen across the board, as "[t]he largest increases in initial claims for the week ending May 26 were in Texas, Michigan, New York, Oregon, and Indiana." Caveat: this list is based on the seasonally unadjusted data. The report also points out that more states had an increase of 1000 people filing claims, than did states having a decrease of 1000 people filing claims.

While it is true that the report basically paints a pretty picture, at least on a state-by-state basis, someone must highlight the negative.

I'm asking for your help. The Source Diverse readers generally have great suggestions. Can you dig up some articles which take the report and slant or highlight the negative? Hint: Try local papers. Double hint: Try local papers in Texas, Michigan, New York, Oregon, and Indiana.

Or, can you form your own opinions of the report? In this day and age, where the public gets direct access, via the web, to this kind of source material there is no reason to just take what is written about the material as gospel. Dig in, get your hands dirty.

Enjoy your day.


Blogger Keith said...

There is a negative right in the report. Just look at the year over year. There was a .47% increase in unemployment from this week last year. That to me is the stat to go by.

1:21 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Excellent observation, Keith. Why do you think this part of the report is being ignored by the media, at least the media I cited in my post? Do you put more stock in the year over year numbers as opposed to the week to week numbers? Thanks for commenting.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

year over year numbers can represent growth, while direct week to week numbers can show statistical anomalies. Regardless the numbers that you quoted are too small a sample to show accurate data. You would need to look at weekly numbers over the course of several months to get an accurate portrayal of growth or decline.

I think that the media, liberal or conservative has a set agenda (big shocker there) and they show statistics to back their particular view. Case in point is your oil headlines. Two prominent news originations showed the same thing in their own view to support their agenda. Pick a side and yell really loud, loudest one wins. I also think that Fox is too busy the last few days distracting us with Paris Hilton to report any real news. Two days in a row I was at a sub shop for lunch that has Fox news on and for the whole time I was eating they were covering this self absorbed moron. They are distracting us from the real issues and it is sickening.

2:37 PM  

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