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Home » Money » “States Asked to Keep Quiet About Jobless Figures” – WSJ article draws backlash
People waiting in line for help with unemployment benefits in Las Vegas.
People waiting in line for help with unemployment benefits in Las Vegas. PHOTO: JOHN LOCHER/ASSOCIATED PRESS

“States Asked to Keep Quiet About Jobless Figures” – WSJ article draws backlash

PortandTerminal.com, March 20, 2020

The title of the Wall Street Journal article today was “Trump Administration Asks States to Keep Quiet About Jobless Figures”. Many readers felt that it was sensationalist.

NEW YORK – The Wall Street Journal reported today that the White House has asked states to abstain from releasing unemployment-claims figures prior to the publication of a national compilation of weekly U.S. jobless claims, according to a state labor department official.

The official cited an email sent on Wednesday from Gay Gilbert, an administrator at the U.S. Labor Department. The message sent as states across the nation started reporting surges in claims tied to the coronavirus pandemic, said jobless claims are closely watched by policymakers and financial markets during a time of fast-changing economic conditions. The emailed message asked states to keep the numbers embargoed until the national claims figures are released each Thursday, the state official said.

READ: Goldman Sachs predicts record 2.25 million unemployment claims filed this week

The news comes as reports of mass coronavirus layoffs start making headlines. Yesterday, investment bank Goldman Sachs Goldman said that it is forecasting that 2.25 million Americans filed for their first week of unemployment benefits this week — eight times the number of people who filed last week and the highest level on record

Backlash

Many were quick to condemn the move to embargo data in no uncertain terms. The recent revelations that two US senators, Richard Burr (R-NC) and Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), used privileged information about the seriousness of the COVID19 outbreak to dump stocks ahead of major losses, has left many suspicious of any attempts to stifle information.

If this policy is followed, who would have access to state reports before the release of the national unemployment figures?  Hopefully not Senator Burr or Imhofe (sic) or Johnson et al.

Others though were critical of the WSJ author who wrote the article, Sarah Chaney, an economics reporter at the publication.

The title of the original article was “Trump Administration Asks States to Keep Quiet About Jobless Figures”. Many readers felt that it was sensationalist.

“This headline is misleading as hell. They’re asking that the state figures simply be delayed until the national figures are out, Not suppressed. Shoddy journalism”

Sarah, as you know some only read or mostly remember the headlines of article (sic). Yours is very misleading and I suspect you know that. If not then think harder.

“Read the whole thing, not quiet just delayed til each Thursday after national claims figures are released!”

“This article serves one purpose: to confirm WSJ’s prejudice against the President. A misleading headline is accompanied by zero discussion off why it might benefit or hurt America to release figures in a coordinated way. A new low for the Journal’s front page.”

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