Chart of the Day: Net New Jobs for December

The American economy added 74,000 new jobs in December, but about 90,000 of those jobs were needed just to keep up with population growth, so net job growth clocked in at minus 16,000. There’s no way to sugarcoat this: it’s pretty dismal news. Last night was obviously a bad time to predict that the economy might be getting back on track.

The headline unemployment rate dropped to 6.7 percent, but that’s mainly because a huge number of people dropped out of the labor force, causing the labor force participation rate to decline from 63.0 percent to 62.8 percent. At the same time, the number of discouraged workers dropped. This suggests that in addition to the usual exodus of workers due to retirement, a fair number of people simply gave up and quit looking for work, dropping out of the official numbers entirely.

It’s only one month, and it might not mean much. Maybe it was just bad weather. Maybe. But it’s a lousy start to the year.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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