As millions of college students enjoy spring break, a respected employment firm gave them an early graduation gift: a report showing that the class of 2006 faces the best labor market in five years. But while the media frequently relay reports from Challenger, Gray, and Christmas, the new report has largely been ignored in the media.
Reuters news wire reported on March 20:
In its annual outlook of entry-level jobs, Challenger, Gray & Christmas said strong job growth and falling unemployment makes this spring the hottest job market for America's 1.4 million college graduates since the dot-com collapse in 2001.
The firm pointed to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers which showed employers plan to hire 14.5 percent more new college graduates than a year ago.
The survey also found higher starting salaries this year. Graduates with economic or finance degrees will see the biggest gain with starting salaries up 11 percent to $45,191, while accounting salaries are up 6.2 percent, business management salaries up 3.9 percent and pay for civil engineers 4.3 percent higher.
The report went unheralded on the network evening shows. But my colleague Charles Simpson noticed that the media frequently feature Challenger, Gray, and Christmas CEO John Challenger as a guest or talking head in business reporting, particularly stories with a negative tone about the economy.
On the January 24 "Early Show," co-host Hannah Storm interviewed Challenger about unemployment in the domestic auto industry, and on the July 21, 2005 "CBS Evening News," Challenger was featured in a Trish Regan report worrying that a "heavy spate of major layoffs" from corporations Kodak and Hewlett-Packard suggest that "we may be hitting a tipping point in the economy."
The Free Market Project has documented the media's consistently pessimistic slant on the economy's performance: