Chart of the Day: Net New Jobs in April


The American economy added 288,000 new jobs in March, but about 90,000 of those jobs were needed just to keep up with population growth, so net job growth clocked in at 198,000. The headline unemployment rate plummeted from 6.7 percent to 6.3 percent.

This is a decent result except for one thing: the unemployment rate went down because a ton of people dropped out of the labor force and are no longer counted in the totals. Nearly a million people dropped out, causing the labor force participation rate to plunge from 63.2 percent in March to 62.8 percent in April. The participation data is fairly volatile on a monthly basis—it went up 0.4 points during the first three months of the year and then dropped 0.4 points in April—but this is nonetheless a large and disconcerting decline that puts a serious damper on the otherwise good unemployment news.

Why? Well, some of the decline in the participation rate is just due to older workers retiring, but probably not that much of it. Rather, the BLS suggests that it’s mostly due to an unusual dip in the number of new entrants to the labor force, which is hardly good news. In addition, I suspect a big chunk of it is due to unemployed workers who have given up looking for jobs, though I acknowledge that the data doesn’t support this.

So: a mixed result. The jobs number is fairly decent. The labor force number is troubling. We’re still puttering along, but not much more.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly 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