Bent into a Pretzel: NYT’s Neil Irwin Spins Terrible BLS Jobs Report as ‘Pretty Good, Actually’

New York Times Neil Irwin, senior economist and correspondent for economics spun the atrocious Bureau of Labor Statistics report that showed the economy added only 194,000 jobs in September.

Following the release of the abysmal job growth report Oct. 8 at 8:30 a.m., Irwin had the nutty spin: “The New Jobs Numbers Are Pretty Good, Actually.” Irwin had a much different reaction earlier on Twitter that undercut the gaslighting in his article. He tweeted immediately at 8:30 a.m. after the BLS report dropped: “+194k on payrolls, a big miss. But unemployment rate way down to 4.8%.” He tweeted one minute later (8:31 a.m.) in his instant coverage of the BLS data: “Debating how many ‘o’s should be added to the word ‘oof’ in this circumstance.” He wrote in the lede paragraph of his article: “It’s not as bad as it looks.” That’s an interesting way of characterizing the “Slowest [Job Growth] Pace of Year.”

Irwin celebrated that the economy was in a “steady expansion that is more rapid than other recent recoveries. Supply constraints are holding it back and the Delta variant’s emergence in September is the only sign of its resurgence. But the direction is clear, consistent and positive.” He falsely stated that the unemployment rate “fell for good reasons, not bad — the number of people unemployed dropped by a whopping 710,000 while the number of people working rose by a robust 526,000.”  The Wall Street Journal reported that “[m]any workers gave up the job search and exited from the labor force last month, the data showed.” It continued: “The smaller pool of labor meant that despite the slowdown in hiring, the unemployment rate fell to 4.8% last month from 5.2% in August.” 

Capital Economics Senior U.S. Economist Michael Pearce told The Journal that “‘[t]This was when many people expected that labor shortages would improve. but in fact they’re getting worse.’” [Emphasis added.]

The unemployment rate did fall for “bad” reasons, despite Irwin’s gaslighting to the contrary. But Irwin proceeded to say the unemployment rate reflected “aRemarkably rapid recovery in the labor market.” [Emphasis added.]

Irwin’s bizarre take is apparently not shared by other writers with his own paper. Fellow Times economics writer Ben Casselman released a piece on the jobs report with a more appropriate outlook the same day as Irwin’s story: “Jobs Report Offers Little Reassurance on U.S. Economy.” Also, the front page of The Times website Oct. 8  had Irwin’s story juxtaposed to Casselman’s story. Casselman’s story, which upended Irwin’s spin that the jobs report was “good,” was headlined: “U.S. Hiring Was Weak in September, as Delta Takes a Toll.”

Conservatives are being attacked. Contact The New York Times at 800-698-4637 and demand it to tell the truth and correct Irwin’s nonsensical spin of the terrible BLS jobs report.

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