Chart of the Day #2: Net New Jobs in October

The American economy gained 250,000 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 respectable 160,000 jobs. The unemployment rate stayed steady at 3.7 percent.

Wages of production and nonsupervisory workers were up at a monthly rate of 0.31 percent and a year-over-year rate of 0.86 percent. That’s not bad at all.

Finally, the labor force participation ticked up 0.2 percent. Assuming that the increase was the same for prime-age workers (age 25-54), it means that prime-age workers are continuing to enter (or re-enter) the labor force. We’re still about a percentage point below where we could be, but that’s a guess since there’s been a secular decline in the participation rate for both men and women ever since 2000, so we don’t really know where we “should” be in the first place.

BLS warns that Hurricane Michael may have affected the employment numbers, but probably not significantly. So with the usual caveat that one month doesn’t mean a lot, this was a very nice employment report, especially the wage data.

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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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