Chart of the Day: Net New Jobs in July

The American economy gained 157,000 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 a sluggish 67,000 jobs. The headline unemployment rate declined to 3.9 percent for solid reasons: the size of the labor force stayed about the same, but the number of people without jobs declined by an impressive 284,000.

Wages of production and nonsupervisory workers were up at an annualized rate of 1.7 percent. Unfortunately, the latest CPI report shows inflation running at an annualized rate of 1.5 percent, which means workers saw only a minuscule pay raise. Looking at the entire past year, hourly wages increased 2.7 percent while inflation has increased 2.8 percent. Over the past twelve months average worker wages have been dead flat.

This is the new normal: decent but not great job growth, and no wage growth at all for blue-collar workers. An awful lot of people seem to think this is a sign of an economy that’s continuing to do great, but that’s not how it looks to me. It looks to me like a 21st century version of stagflation, where economic growth is OK but blue-collar workers are just dog-paddling along.

Over the past two years, blue-collar wages have increased 0.3 percent annually. That’s $150 per year—about the cost of a replacement pair of work boots. I guess you can decide for yourself if that’s the sign of a robustly growing economy.

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