Chart of the Day: Net New Jobs in February

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


The American economy added 242,000 new jobs last month, 90,000 of which were needed to keep up with population growth. This means that net job growth clocked in at a respectable 152,000 jobs—and as usual, virtually all of it was in the private sector. The headline unemployment rate held steady at 4.9 percent. The number of employed people went up by a whopping 530,000, and labor force participation was up by 0.2 percentage points. Over the last two years, the employment-population ratio has been growing steadily, and it’s now up by a full percentage point since February 2014. This is very positive news: more and more people are re-entering the labor force and finding jobs.

Unfortunately, this strong employment result did nothing for wages: hourly earnings of production and nonsupervisory employees were flat compared to last month, and weekly earnings were down considerably, thanks to an across-the-board drop in the service sector. That’s unwelcome news after last month’s fairly robust wage growth. The economy is growing at a decent clip—and there are no signs of an imminent recession—but it’s just not sustaining much wage growth.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

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.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

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.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate