The private sector added a few jobs in July, but those gains were offset by the loss of 143,000 temporary jobs at the U.S. Census Bureau. In total, the economy lost 131,000 jobs, leaving the headline unemployment rate essentially unchanged at 9.5 percent.
Economists say that the economy needs to add around 140,000 jobs per month nationally simply to keep up with population growth, so in many ways, the U.S. is falling behind simply by standing still.
In addition, revised figures for June showed that the economic picture was actually bleaker than anybody thought. Job losses for that month were initially reported to be 125,000, but the Department of Labor said today that the actual figure was 221,000. Similarly, the private-sector hiring figures had initially been reported at 83,000 for June, but turned out to be only 31,000.
The public sector will continue to weigh on the statistics for layoffs - with sometimes crippling levels of debt and cutbacks at all levels, many state and local governments are finding they simply don't have the money to pay all their staff.
In addition, pay cuts and freezes, furloughs and reduced hours have become the norm across the economy, further reducing the average consumer's confidence or willingness to spend on items large and small.
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