The National Journal counted up the number of articles in major newspapers that mentioned one of those words in either the headline or the first few sentences, and found that "unemployment" peaked on Aug. 15, 2010. But "deficit" spiked in December, fell significantly in the first few months of 2011, and has been gaining ever since (no doubt the result of recent Republican jawboning).
More likely, the broadening gap demonstrates just how effective conservatives have been at changing the narrative of economic policy from one dominated by talk of fiscal stimulus to one now in lockstep with notions of fiscal austerity. That major newspapers and other media outlets have covered the deficit with greater intensity in recent months should come as no surprise given the focus of the politicians and policymakers they cover. The declining mentions of unemployment are perhaps more surprising, as the issue remains salient for millions of Americans.