Chart of the Day: Net New Jobs in December

The American economy gained 312,000 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 healthy 222,000 jobs. The unemployment rate rose to 3.9 percent.

December’s numbers are a little hard to make sense of. The labor force increased by 412,000, and about half of this was due to people coming in off the sidelines and starting to look for jobs. However, they’re counted as unemployed until they find work, so the number of unemployed increased in December, while the number of employed went up by only 142,000.

Earnings of production and nonsupervisory workers increased at a startling annualized rate of 4.9 percent in the month of December. For the full year, the increase was 3.3 percent. With inflation running at about 2.2 percent both recently and for the full year, this means blue collar workers saw a full-year increase of about 1.1 percent and a December increase of about 2.7 percent at an annualized rate. Not bad.

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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