Chart of the Day: Net New Jobs in December


The American economy added 155,000 new jobs last month, but about 90,000 of those jobs were needed just to keep up with population growth, so net job growth was closer to 65,000 jobs. This was about the same as November. The headline unemployment number remained steady at 7.8 percent, the same as November’s revised estimate.

For reasons that remain obscure—and might just be a coincidence—the American economy is now in its third straight years of growing modestly except during the summer, when it stagnates for a few months. As a result, I’d say we’re now living in the worst of all possible worlds: growth isn’t high enough to really kick the economy into high gear, but it’s not low enough to scare Congress into doing something serious about it. Instead, they just obsess over the deficit. That might be appropriate if we were consistently adding 200,000 net new jobs a month, but it’s just plain dumb right now.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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