A Little Note About Reporting on the Economy

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As writeups begin to appear about the August jobs report, I’ve noticed a fair number of people describing it as “strong.” I wish reporters would stop doing this when the BLS announces fairly ordinary numbers like the 201,000 new jobs we got last month.¹ This isn’t terrible or anything, but jobs have been growing at about this rate for so long that it seems as if we’ve finally all been socialized to think of anything over 200,000 or so as strong. But it’s really not. If I had my druthers, the starting point for “strong” would be 300,000 new jobs—and we’ve hit that number only five times in the past five years.

So let’s not get carried away. Donald Trump will probably describe this as the greatest jobs report ever, but the rest of us should stick to more judicious descriptions. 200,000 new jobs is fairly good, but that’s it. We can do better, and we should.

¹They should especially knock it off when the labor force shrinks and the number of people working drops by 423,000. That just isn’t a great jobs report.

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Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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