Fox Business’ Stuart Varney Shoots Down Former Bush Labor Secretary Elaine Chao’s Negative Jobs Report Spin

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its employment report for March 2010, which found that “employment in the U.S. increased in March by the most in three years.” In the report, the Bureau of Labor Statistics also revised its January total from-26,000 to +14,000, and February’s from -36,000 to -14,000. President Obama called the report “encouraging” while his economic adviser Christina Romer said it “shows continued signs of gradual labor market healing.” Paul Krugman described the job numbers as meaning that “the patient is in stable condition.”

As ThinkProgress noted earlier today, conservatives have sought to rain on Obama’s parade, falsely claiming that the numbers are a “disappointment” because they were “mostly” due to hiring Census workers. On Fox Business today, former Bush labor secretary Elaine Chao attempted to spin the numbers negatively. But host Stuart Varney, who has been cynical about the administration’s economic policies, wouldn’t buy her spin, telling her that “this is not a blip up on a one month basis, there is a trend”:

VARNEY: I’m sure you’ve heard what I’ve just been saying, that we have indeed reached a turn, this is my judgment, a turn from job destruction towards very limited job creation. Would you agree with that?

CHAO: Unfortunately, I don’t. I think this is still a very mixed report and this is only one month. So, we need to see a trend, not just, you know, an uptick perhaps in one month. The unemployment rate stayed steady even though there were jobs created primarily because the labor participation rate is still very low. And…

VARNEY: You know, Ms. Chao, I’ve got to interupt for just a second, I’m sorry, I hate to interrupt.

CHAO: Sure.

VARNEY: But look, we did create jobs in November of last year. And we’ve just had a revision in the January and February numbers for this year, showing a net job gain in those months and we’ve also gained jobs in March. This is not a blip up on a one month basis, there is a trend. Four of the last five months we have seen job creation. Now, I know it’s very slow and it’s not enough. We got that.

CHAO: Yes.

VARNEY: But it is an uptrend. It is a job creation trend.

Chao did not argue with Varney’s pushback. Watch it:

Earlier today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released a chart demonstrating Varney’s point that the economy is moving from job destruction towards job creation:


Dartmouth economic professor Andrew Samwick wrote today that March’s employment report shows “what the labor market looks like when it starts to bottom out and slowly recover — overall job growth turns small and positive, cyclically sensitive sectors like temporary help services grow more rapidly than most, and it is tough to make progress against the unemployment rate because the number of job seekers may go up in tandem with total employment.”