Chart of the Day: Net New Jobs In February

The American economy gained 20,000 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 -70,000 jobs. The unemployment rate declined to 3.8 percent.

As bad as this looks, the underlying numbers are a little more comforting. The number of employed people went up by 255,000 and the number of unemployed went down by 300,000. On the other hand, nearly 200,000 people dropped out of the labor force, which is a pretty high number. The labor participation rate stayed steady.

Wages were a mixed story. The hourly earnings of production and nonsupervisory workers went up at an annualized rate of 4.3 percent, which comes to about 2.8 percent when you account for inflation. However, weekly earnings went down by 3.1 percent, which comes -4.6 percent when you account for inflation.

I don’t really know how to react to all this. The raw jobs picture is obviously terrible, but everything else—the rise in employment, the participation rate, wages for blue-collar workers—looks pretty good. I’m tentatively going to say that I think the jobs number is a blip and we’ll return to decent job growth next month. But my confidence in saying this is fairly low.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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