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Economy Adds 162,000 Jobs In July

AP Photo

The most important information in any monthly employment report -- because it's the most reliable -- is revisions to previous months' payroll figures. Last month, we saw upward revisions to both April and May hiring statistics. This month, the news is not so good.

The May figure dipped from 195,000 to 176,000, and the June figure slightly less so, from 195,000 to 188,000.

The payroll gains were attributable to large increases in retail and wholesale trade employment, and service and financial service sector jobs.

The best news in the report may be for teachers, who lost tens of thousands of jobs over the course of the economic downturn. Today's report indicates that local governments hired over 10,000 people in the education sector, offsetting 4,000 other local government job losses. Together, local government gains offset modest losses at the state (-3,000) and federal (-1,000) levels.

Perhaps the worst news, though, is that hourly earnings fell -- slightly. Down 0.1 percent.

The report weakens the case that the Federal Reserve should begin tapering the support its been providing to the economy for several months -- but the top line drop in unemployment rate significantly masks that fact.

About The Author


Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at