Fox News spent less than 11 minutes highlighting the February jobs report that showed the unemployment rate dropped to 7.7 percent, about half the time the network spent covering the August 2011 jobs report that indicated no net addition of jobs.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics' unemployment report for the month of February revealed that 236,000 jobs were added, causing the unemployment rate to fall from 7.9 to 7.7 percent. This marks the first time the unemployment rate has been below 7.8 percent since 2008, and the lowest unemployment rate during the entirety of the Obama presidency.
Despite the significance of this development in the labor market, Fox News has been noticeably quiet on the subject in their morning programs, especially when contrasted with how they have covered previous negative economic news. On September 2, 2011 when initial reports showed no net addition of jobs for the month of August, Fox discussed this negative news for roughly twice the amount of time as the positive news on March 8, when the February jobs report was released.
Furthermore, the majority of Fox's coverage discussing the drop in unemployment used the news as a foil to bring up unrelated indicators or downplay its significance.
The fact that Fox spent little time discussing the drop in unemployment continues their documented history of downplaying positive economic news.
Media Matters viewed coverage of Fox News from 8:30 AM (when the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its report) to 12:00 noon on September 2, 2011 and March 8, 2013 and recorded the amount of time spent discussing the unemployment reports. We included teases and straight news segments. The analysis includes the shows Fox & Friends, America's Newsroom, and Happening Now.