Employers eliminated 247,000 jobs in July, the slowest pace in a year, and the unemployment rate dipped slightly to 9.4 percent, according to a report released today by the U.S. Department of Labor.
From May to July, job losses averaged 331,000 per month, compared with losses averaging 645,000 per month from November to April. Since December 2007, 6.7 million jobs have been lost.
The dip in the unemployment rate - from June's 9.5 percent - was the first since April 2008. One of the reasons the rate went down, however, was because hundreds of thousands of people left the labor force. Still, analysts had expected the job losses to be around 320,000 and the unemployment rate to edge up to 9.6 percent.
Job losses continued in many of the major industry sectors last month. Employment in construction declined by 76,000 last month. Manufacturing employment fell by 52,000 and has declined by 2 million since the recession began. Retail trade employment declined by 44,000, while employment in wholesale trade fell by 19,000, with the majority of the decline occurring among durable goods wholesalers.