Last Friday, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released one of the worst labor market reports in recent years – a report that, as one economist observed, "leaves little doubt that the economy is in a recession."
The job report found that the nation's private sector shed 101,000 jobs in February and has lost 141,000 positions over the past three months. Significant job reductions occurred in the manufacturing, construction and retail sectors. At the same time, the size of the labor force dropped, the employment-to-population ratio fell and the number of part-time workers unable to find full-time jobs rose. All of these trends point to an sagging economy and hurting families.
So, how did The News & Observer cover this alarming report? Simple: they focused on people with few worries. In a story on Saturday, the N&O followed a group of seemingly secure young adults as they spent an evening wining and dining in Raleigh's trendy Glenwood South district. And there didn't seem to be a job loser or involuntarily part-timer in sight.
If the N&O wanted to provide readers with a realistic sense of what is actually occurring in the economy, it could have spoken with one of the roughly 13,000 Tar Heels who filed for unemployment insurance benefits during the last reporting period or one of the 750 people slated to lose their jobs at the Flextronics plant in nearby Franklin County or one of the growing number of families facing foreclosure.
But how could any of that that compete with overpriced drinks and exotic food?
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