Google Highlights Upbeat Job Market Article as Unemployment Rate Rises to 9.8 Percent

Shortly after the Labor Department announced a very disappointing jump in the unemployment rate to 9.8 percent, Google News featured as its top story an Associated Press article published Thursday predicting "the tight job market may be easing at last."

Here's a screen cap of Google News from about an hour ago:

Here are the contents of that piece:

November marked a two-year low for the number of people applying for initial unemployment benefits, suggesting that the tight job market may be easing at last.

The slowing of layoffs and a solid month for retailers are the latest evidence of a strengthening economy in the final months of the year. Even the struggling housing market showed signs of improvement: On Thursday, it posted a third straight monthly increase in signed contracts for home purchases.

Some economists are now sketching a more optimistic forecast for Friday's report on November employment, though few expect a change in the 9.6 percent unemployment rate. [...]

"We are starting to get some self-sustaining momentum in the economy," said Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist at IHS Global Insight.

Gault predicts that private companies added a net total of 180,000 jobs last month — a bump-up from his earlier forecast of 160,000 new jobs. In October, private companies added a net 159,000 jobs. That marked a spurt of job creation after hiring had all but stalled pretty much all summer.

Or maybe not. Here are the real numbers released Friday as reported by Bloomberg:

Employers added fewer jobs than forecast in November and the unemployment rate unexpectedly rose, underscoring the Federal Reserve’s decision to pump more money into the economy to spur growth.

Payrolls increased 39,000, less than the most pessimistic projection of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News, after a revised 172,000 increase the prior month, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The jobless rate rose to 9.8 percent, the highest since April, while hours worked and earnings stagnated.

So much for the AP's enthusiasm.

As for Google, all involved should be deeply embarrassed for so prominently featuring a day-old piece about job market optimism within hours of the Labor Department releasing very disappointing unemployment news.

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Noel Sheppard's picture