Chart of the Day: Net New Jobs in August

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The August jobs report is out, and it doesn’t have much good news. My usual monthly jobs chart is below: since the economy needs about 90,000 new jobs just to keep up with population growth, I subtract 90,000 from the raw jobs figures to show net new job creation. And what this shows is that we’re treading water: net job creation in August was basically zero. The initial June and July jobs numbers were also revised downward a bit.

However, in a reversal of last month, when the headline unemployment number went up (from 8.22% to 8.25%) even though more people were working, this month the unemployment number went down (to 8.11%) even though the jobs data was flat. This is because about half a million people dropped out of the labor force. Oddly, though, this is not because they joined the ranks of discouraged workers. In fact, the number of discouraged workers was down a bit. Long-term unemployment was also down. So there are a few small glimmers of good news here. However, when you dig below the surface of the report it mostly stays pretty bleak. Overall, it looks a lot as if net job creation has slowed to nearly nothing in the past five months.

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without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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