UPDATE: The headline at AP's 9:37 a.m. report now reads "US unemployment claims signal slower hiring." That's nice, but it won't what was broadcast immediately after the report's release until news outlets become aware of the revision.
The games the Associated Press's Chris Rugaber and the wire service's headline writers are playing with the weekly unemployment claims from the Department of Labor are getting tiresome, and grow seemingly more disgraceful with each passing week. Today, DOL told us that initial unemployment claims were 386,000. Last week's 380,000 was revised upward to 388,000. Both figures are significantly higher than the number in the low 360s seen in the four prior weeks. The sadly predictable headline at Rugaber's AP story (saved here at host for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) follows the jump.
Here it is:
And of course, Chris Rugaber (who to his credit, at least recognized the upward revision to last week's figure), wrote the following:
Applications have started to level off in recent weeks after months of steady declines.
Really Chris? That's not what I'm seeing:
Here's more from Rugaber:
Lower benefit applications indicate that companies are cutting fewer jobs. And economists note that unemployment benefit applications are at a much lower level than they were last year, which is a hopeful sign that March's weak numbers were a temporary lull.
Today's not seasonally adjusted claims (367,550) were less than 4% below the same week a year ago (381,834). Neither week was affected by the timing of the Easter holiday. I don't think a 3.7% drop qualifies as "much lower."
It is really sad that Rugaber's risible work is what's going to be broadcast over much if not most of the radio and TV airwaves for the next couple of hours. The Old Soviet Union's Tass, Pravda, and Isvestia would have been proud of him. The AP should be ashamed. That the self-described "Essential Global News Network" probably isn't explains why yours truly refers to it as the Administration's Press. With great power comes great responsibility, guys -- and you're not exercising it.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.