The Department of Labor released the official July 2010 unemployment figures today and the rate remained unchanged at 9.5 percent. This is not good news for the millions of unemployed Americans that are counting on a big jump in private sector employment to help get them back to work.

Although the unemployment rate did not increase from June to July 2010, this number hides some bad news. Total nonfarm payroll employment dropped by 131,000, due mostly to 143,000 temporary Census 2010 positions coming to a close. If we remove that figure from the total, private sector payroll employment increased by 71,000 during July 2010. Although this is an increase, it is fewer than the 83,000 new private sector jobs gained in June 2010. This is further evidence that the economy is indeed stagnant here in the United States.

Despite the fact that the state of today’s economy is supposed to be better than the economy was just 12 months ago, more Americans are considered marginally attached to the labor force now. Today’s report shows that 2.6 million Americans are marginally attached, in other words they aren’t working, want to work, have looked for a job during the past year, but are not considered unemployed because they didn’t actively seek employment in the past four weeks. This 2.6 million figure is an increase of 340,000 from July 2009.

The news gets even bleaker as nearly half of those marginally attached, 1.2 million, are considered discouraged workers. These individuals have given up hope that a job is available and have stopped their job search. There are 389,000 more discouraged workers this year than there was in 2009.

It was hard to read through the report and find anything that could truly be considered good news so I’m going to share some of the not-so-bad news from the report:

  • There were fewer layoffs than normal in the motor vehicle and parts manufacturing sector.
  • There were 27,000 new jobs added in the health care sector during July.
  • Mining employment slaw a slight increase during July with 7,000 new jobs added in the sector.
The fact that the unemployment rate is not changing and is hovering at near double-digit records, not counting those that are marginally attached, is disheartening. This is obviously a major concern for those that count themselves among the millions of unemployed Americans but it is also concerning for those that are employed. The stagnant economy has people muttering the words stagflation, double dip recession, and even forecasts of an official depression.

Photo: twicepix/Flickr

The opinions expressed by MNN Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of While we have reviewed their content to make sure it complies with our Terms and Conditions, MNN is not responsible for the accuracy of any of their information.