Chart of the Day: Net New Jobs in February

The American economy gained 273,000 jobs last month. We need 90,000 new jobs just to keep up with population growth, which means that net job growth clocked in at 183,000 jobs. That’s a pretty strong number, and the January number was revised upward as well. The headline unemployment rate ticked down slightly to 3.5 percent.

Part of the jobs gain was something of a statistical mirage. Nearly 200,000 people dropped out of work in February—double the usual number—and the civilian labor force shrank. The total number of employed people increased by only 45,000 and the employment-population ratio actually declined.

On the bright side, earnings rose smartly. Hourly earnings for blue-collar workers increased at an annualized rate of 1.7 percent after inflation, and weekly earnings increased a whopping 5.4 percent.

All in all, despite the iffiness of the jobs numbers, this is a very strong jobs reports. The number of new jobs was high; the headline unemployment rate went down; and earnings went up. There’s not much to complain about here.

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THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

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