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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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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