The lead paragraphs and headline — “Job Growth Suggests Resilience of U.S. Recovery” — of a recent New York Times article suggests, Herbert Hoover-style, that prosperity is just around the corner. The real story is buried deep in the text:
… Yet March’s numbers also offered more than a few cautionary signs that the national economy was not cured of all its ills. The ranks of Americans who have been without a job for 27 weeks or more remain painfully high, at more than six million. And the labor force has shrunk steadily since the beginning of the recession, to a point that just 64.2 percent of adults are either in the work force or looking for a job. That is the lowest labor participation rate in a quarter-century…
The average workweek, too, was unchanged, at 34.3 hours, and average hourly earnings remained static. Such indicators point to an economy with much slack demand, hints of deflation and little upward pressure on wages. Real earnings, the Brookings Institution noted on Friday, have fallen 1.1 percent in the last year…
Another question is what the midterm future augurs. Will jobs continue to expand through the spring, and with enough vigor — 300,000 a month, say — to substantially reduce the unemployment rate? ...If the economy adds 200,000 jobs a month, it will be 2019 before it reaches the employment rate that preceded this recession.
Bill Keller, editor of The Times, equates his style of reporting with “objectivity.” It’s really just spin. Yes, hiring was up in March, but the increase is a blip compared to the number of jobs lost since 2008, and real earnings continue to fall. In what way could these facts indicate resilience or recovery to anyone trying to honestly gauge where the country is heading?
The editors and managers of The Times and the other corporate-owned media outlets seem to think their mission is to put a new coat of paint on the bug-infested shack we call the economy. They want us to believe the shack is a palace that’s slowly being restored.
These people do good work when they remember their role should be to dig for and present information to counter the lies in which all governments traffic. However, they usually fall down on the big stories, from Iraq to our endless recession, and end up spinning for the corporate-political establishment. Too bad for the rest of us.