Despite the low top line figure, the initial estimate contains a high degree of uncertainty, and the report is consistent with payroll data going back months, suggesting moderate economic growth, and a recovery too sluggish to rapidly improve the country's weak employment situation.
The struggling labor market -- illustrated by weak job growth, a shrinking civilian labor force and a decreasing labor force participation rate -- increase expectations that the Federal Reserve will provide some juice to the economy with a new round of asset purchases (so-called "quantitative easing") when the Fed's open market committee meets next week.
BLS also revised June's payroll figures down from 64,000 to 45,000.
Per political ritual, Democrats heralded slow but continued private sector growth, and, despite negative underlying connotations, the lower unemployment rate. Republicans continue to use persistently high unemployment and slow growth to argue Obama should be defeated in November.