Chart of the Day: Net New Jobs in December

The American economy gained 312,000 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 healthy 222,000 jobs. The unemployment rate rose to 3.9 percent.

December’s numbers are a little hard to make sense of. The labor force increased by 412,000, and about half of this was due to people coming in off the sidelines and starting to look for jobs. However, they’re counted as unemployed until they find work, so the number of unemployed increased in December, while the number of employed went up by only 142,000.

Earnings of production and nonsupervisory workers increased at a startling annualized rate of 4.9 percent in the month of December. For the full year, the increase was 3.3 percent. With inflation running at about 2.2 percent both recently and for the full year, this means blue collar workers saw a full-year increase of about 1.1 percent and a December increase of about 2.7 percent at an annualized rate. Not bad.

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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