Chart of the Day: Net New Jobs in December

The American economy gained 148,000 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 58,000 jobs. That’s pretty weak. The employment-population ratio stayed flat yet again, and the headline unemployment rate stayed steady at 4.1 percent.

I added a trend line this month because the general trajectory of the jobs report is pretty clear these days: after peaking at the start of 2015, job growth has been on a slow but steady downward trend. At the current rate, net job growth will be close to zero by the end of the year. Alternatively, of course, it’s possible that the trendline will change. Maybe the tax cut will produce a temporary sugar high. Or maybe a recession will start and job growth will crater.

On the bright side, wages of production and nonsupervisory workers were up 3.9 percent. That’s a net gain of about 1.7 percent after accounting for inflation. It would be good news indeed if we could keep this up for a while.

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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 bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America 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.

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