CNN and mainstream newspapers reacted positively to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) jobs report for March 2016, saying the report's topline figure of 215,000 jobs added is a “strong” number. But Fox personalities continued their months-long attempt to cast consistent job creation in a negative light, with Fox Business host Stuart Varney questioning the “quality of jobs” added.
On April 1, the BLS reported that the United States added 215,000 jobs in the month of March. CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans reported on New Day that March saw “another strong month of hiring,” but she warned that “this report is like a Rorschach test now on the campaign trail. ... Republicans will see the weaknesses and try to say that the economy is not working well for everyone. Democrats will try to say, look, we're moving in the right direction.”
The Washington Post heralded the news as “healthy job growth,” saying that “the nation's hiring boom continued its momentum in March.” The New York Times led its reporting by declaring, “Americans are going back to work,” and continued by saying the numbers show “a burst of hiring in recent months.” The Times also reported that the labor force participation rate -- the ratio of people working or looking for jobs -- was up to its highest level in two years at 63 percent.
Counter to the positive reporting from mainstream outlets, host Stuart Varney claimed to have “reason to question the quality of the jobs in this latest jobs report.” On the April 1 edition of Varney & Co., Varney noted that 47,000 retail jobs had been created, claiming this means “High paid [jobs are] gone; low paid, here they come,” but he neglected to mention that the construction and health care sectors added 37,000 jobs each.
Varney's disingenuous complaint fits a trend at Fox News, where on-air personalities continue to lament consistently improving economic data. On November 6, Fox & Friends co-hosts Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Steve Doocy stumbled through a segment on the outstanding October jobs report, with Hasselbeck confusingly claiming that “only 271,000 jobs” had been created that month. On December 4, in response to a strong November report that beat most economists' expectations, Varney still managed to conclude that the pace of job creation was “mediocre,” and on January 8 he downplayed the December jobs report as merely “modest” even though it was the strongest jobs report of 2015.