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.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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.

payment methods

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.

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