Chart of the Day: Net New Jobs in April

The American economy gained 263,000 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 173,000 jobs. The unemployment rate declined to 3.6 percent.

It’s an odd jobs report this month. The size of the labor force dropped by almost half a million, and both the number of employed people and the number of unemployed people went down. The employment-population ratio remained unchanged from last month. Still, job growth was pretty strong, and our economic expansion appears to be rolling along without any letup.

Average hourly earnings of blue-collar workers went up at an annualized rate of 3.8 percent compared to March, which is very good considering that the inflation rate is very low. Here’s the year-over-year growth in blue-collar wages over the past few years:

The last six months have all seen wage growth higher than 1 percent. That’s pretty good if we can keep it up.

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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