Chart of the Day: Net New Jobs in October

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The American economy beat expectations and added 171,000 new jobs last month. However, about 90,000 of those jobs were needed just to keep up with population growth, so net job growth is closer to 81,000 jobs. The chart below, which I update monthly, shows net job creation since the beginning of 2008, and the bottom line is that although job growth in October was higher than job growth in September, it was still fairly modest. This is pretty much the same story we’ve had all year: the economy is improving, but it’s not improving very fast. In other news, the labor participation rate was up a hair as more people started looking for work again, and as a result, unemployment ticked up slightly, from 7.80% to 7.88%. Also: revisions added 84,000 jobs to prior months’ data.

Politically, this is a wash. It’s decently good news, but it isn’t something Obama can crow about too much. Conversely, it’s nothing that Romney can get much traction with either. If you dig into the weeds, the unemployment rate was up fairly dramatically among blacks and among those without a high school diploma, but in both cases it was just a reversion to the trendline after a flukey low number last month. The number of discouraged workers was up slightly, and the number of long-term unemployed rose a few percentage points. That’s pretty much the worst news in the report.

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Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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