Chart of the Day: Net New Jobs in November

The American economy gained 266,000 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 176,000 jobs. This seems like a very robust number, but unfortunately most of it was a statistical artifact of a lot of people exiting the labor force. In real life, the number of employed was up modestly and the number of unemployed was down modestly. The employment-population ratio stayed the same as last month. The headline unemployment rate ticked down slightly to 3.5 percent.

Hourly wages for blue-collar workers were up a very healthy 3.7 percent. With inflation running at roughly 1.8 percent these days, that’s a real hourly wage increase of about 2.1 percent. That’s a great number, and it would be even better if we could sustain it for several months running.

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THE BIG PICTURE

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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