Chart of the Day: Net New Jobs in April

The American economy gained 164,000 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 so-so 74,000 jobs. The headline unemployment rate dropped to 3.9 percent, but this was entirely due to people dropping out of the labor force. The number of employed workers stayed exactly the same and the employment-population ratio dropped slightly. Wages of production and nonsupervisory workers were up 2.8 percent. That’s a little higher than the rate of inflation, so blue-collar workers saw a bit of a pay increase last month.

This was a pretty weak jobs report. Blue collar wages rose decently, but the drop in the unemployment rate is illusory, generated not by more people working but by more people dropping out of the labor force. The number of new jobs was OK, but nothing to write home about. The whole thing was very meh.

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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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