Chart of the Day: Net New Jobs in September

The American economy gained 136,000 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 sluggish but decent 46,000 jobs. The headline unemployment rate dropped to 3.5 percent, the lowest rate in half a century.

The numbers below the surface were decent too. Employment was up, unemployment was down, and only a small number of people dropped out of the labor force—probably accounted for by older folks retiring. The labor participation rate stayed steady.

At the same time, as you can see, the trend line recently has been steadily downward for the past year or so. If this continues at its current rate, we’ll hit zero net job growth in the first quarter of 2020.

Blue-collar wages grew just slightly faster than inflation. There’s still a little bit of wage pressure in the economy, but it’s fading away.

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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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