Chart of the Day: Net New Jobs in April

The American economy gained 263,000 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 173,000 jobs. The unemployment rate declined to 3.6 percent.

It’s an odd jobs report this month. The size of the labor force dropped by almost half a million, and both the number of employed people and the number of unemployed people went down. The employment-population ratio remained unchanged from last month. Still, job growth was pretty strong, and our economic expansion appears to be rolling along without any letup.

Average hourly earnings of blue-collar workers went up at an annualized rate of 3.8 percent compared to March, which is very good considering that the inflation rate is very low. Here’s the year-over-year growth in blue-collar wages over the past few years:

The last six months have all seen wage growth higher than 1 percent. That’s pretty good if we can keep it up.

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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