June 5, 2009

CNNMoney’s Hour-Later Employment Report Reax: ‘Better Than Expected’

It doesn’t seem like it would be too much to ask CNNMoney’s headline e-mailers to read past the first sentence of a government announcement. But, maybe it is.

Here is the first two sentences of the Employment Situation Report from Uncle Sam’s Bureau of Labor Statistics released this morning:

Nonfarm payroll employment fell by 345,000 in May, about half the average monthly decline for the prior 6 months, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today.  The unemployment rate continued to rise, increasing from 8.9 to 9.4 percent.

Ahead of the 8:30 a.m. report, according to Reuters, Dow futures were up 54 points, while S&P and NASDAQ futures were up 5 and 5.75 points, respectively (the time-stamp is 9:22, but the narrative is clearly pre-8:30).

Just after the market opened, I received this CNNMoney e-mail:


But according to this AFP report, expectations were that “employers ….. (will) have cut 520,000 jobs, down from 539,000 in April. But the unemployment rate is still expected to have jumped to 9.2 percent, its highest since 1983.” Thus, today report was clearly a not-as-bad news, worse news result.

“Better-than-expected” is obviously only half true, indicating that an hour after the employment report’s release, the intrepid folks responsible for generating the CNNMoney e-mails either hadn’t read the BLS’s second sentence, or didn’t think we needed to know about it.

As to stocks “soaring,” the Dow, S&P and NASDAQ went up about 88, 10, and 16 points, respectively, in the first 10-15 minutes after the opening. Except for the NASDAQ, the majority of the early gains were already built-in ahead of the employment report. As of this writing, today’s indices are below where the futures were just before 8:30.

Soar, schmoar.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.


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