The December jobs report showing 312,000 jobs added was a “boom,” a “surge,” and a huge “surprise.” While all three networks noticed the big economic story on Jan. 4, ABC's World News Tonight with David Muir didn’t bother to spend much time telling people about it.
World News Tonight devoted just 22 seconds to the report that night. Anchor David Muir called it “encouraging news on the economy,” that “helped the fluctuating stock market” rally by 746 points. But he didn’t mention that the report crushed expectations — which had been around 176,000 new jobs according to CNBC. The final report was 136,000 more jobs than those expectations, not including the additional 58,000 jobs added from revisions to previous months.
Muir’s delivery understated just how upbeat the report was and both of the show’s competitors proved it by giving the good news more time. Much more time.
CBS Evening News spent two minutes, 21 seconds on the “strong” jobs news saying that the president “hailed” it in a press conference and delivering a story by reporter Dean Reynolds showing what the “hiring binge” meant for real American companies and workers. That’s nearly seven times more coverage than ABC gave the report.
Reynolds interviewed a man who was offered a job by Graycor construction company six months before finishing his degree in engineering. He also spoke with the head of Graycor who said the company was accelerating hiring.
NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt also aired a story on the jobs “boom” from correspondent Tom Costello that lasted 1 minute 34 seconds (or 4 times as much as ABC's World News Tonight). Costello noted that the job gains were “far more than expected” and came from many sectors. He said the “numbers lit a fire on Wall Street” that day sending the Dow, S&P, and NASDAQ up 3 percent or more.