Chart of the Day: Net New Jobs in January

The American economy gained 304,000 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 214,000 jobs. The unemployment rate rose to 4.0 percent.

The BLS does a comprehensive revision of the previous year’s numbers each January, and that resulted in a fairly large revision downward in December’s numbers. They’re now 90,000 less than was reported last month, so I guess the holiday season wasn’t quite as good as we thought.

Earnings of production and nonsupervisory workers increased at a miserly annualized rate of 1.6 percent in the month of January. With inflation running at about 2 percent, this means that blue-collar workers saw a pay cut of about 0.4 percent. Yuck. However, this is probably just making up for the huge upward spike last month. Year-over-year earnings increased 3.4 percent, or about 1.4 percent when you account for inflation. That’s 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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