Chart of the Day #2: Net New Jobs in October

The American economy gained 250,000 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 respectable 160,000 jobs. The unemployment rate stayed steady at 3.7 percent.

Wages of production and nonsupervisory workers were up at a monthly rate of 0.31 percent and a year-over-year rate of 0.86 percent. That’s not bad at all.

Finally, the labor force participation ticked up 0.2 percent. Assuming that the increase was the same for prime-age workers (age 25-54), it means that prime-age workers are continuing to enter (or re-enter) the labor force. We’re still about a percentage point below where we could be, but that’s a guess since there’s been a secular decline in the participation rate for both men and women ever since 2000, so we don’t really know where we “should” be in the first place.

BLS warns that Hurricane Michael may have affected the employment numbers, but probably not significantly. So with the usual caveat that one month doesn’t mean a lot, this was a very nice employment report, especially the wage data.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

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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