Chart of the Day: Net New Jobs in August

The American economy gained 201,000 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 fairly decent 111,000 jobs. The unemployment rate stayed flat at 3.9 percent. However, the number of people with jobs declined by 423,000; the number of unemployed workers barely changed; the labor force fell by nearly half a million; and the labor participation rate dropped from 62.9 percent to 62.7 percent. Overall, this is a pretty mediocre jobs report.

Wages of production and nonsupervisory workers were up at an annualized rate of 3.9 percent. Not bad! Inflation is running at 2.9 percent right now, so this represents a real pay raise of about 1 percent.

It’s hard to know what to think of this report. The jobs increase isn’t bad, but the rest of it ranged from mediocre to lousy. Blue-collar wages were up, but we’ve seen good months before followed immediately by bad ones. Even with August’s nice wage number, wage growth for the previous 12 months is 2.8 percent, slightly below the inflation rate. We’ll need many more months of high growth before we put together a solid year.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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