So the new job numbers are out. The addition of 146,000 jobs means that President Bush saw a net gain of jobs during his term. Of course, John Kerry led a chorus of Democratic critics who predicted that Bush would preside over the first net loss of jobs since Herbert Hoover.

But, the Associated Press doesn’t think that’s very important. Here’s their lead:

America’s employers added 146,000 jobs in January — a pickup from the previous month but still a somewhat lackluster pace that underscores the slow recovery as the nation’s labor market tries to get back to full throttle.

The author, Jeannine Aversa, waits until the fifth graph to begrudgingly deliver the good news:

President Bush’s first term in office, however, ended up showing a net gains in payroll jobs. From January 2001 to January 2005, the economy generated a net gain of 119,000 jobs. That allows Bush to escape being what Democrats and other critics had projected as the first president since Herbert Hoover to have a net loss of jobs on his watch.

I don’t recall any critics who weren’t Democrats invoking Herbert Hoover to disparage Bush.

Since Aversa is the AP’s economics writer, I’m sure she’s aware of Germany’s dismal unemployment numbers that came out earlier this week. A paragraph noting the stark difference would add some interesting background. The German unemployment rate rose to a 70-year high and now sits at more than 12 percent. Our unemployment rate dropped to 5.2 percent but its growth is deemed “lackluster” in the AP lead.

An study released last year (by a conservative organization, albeit) noticed similar biases in business reporting.