Unemployment Rate and Job Losses Drop

By Toni Vranjes

August 7, 2009

The unemployment rate dropped slightly in July and job losses slowed, providing some welcome news for the U.S. labor market.

The jobless rate fell to 9.4 percent from 9.5 percent the previous month, according to the Labor Department. Employers cut 247,000 jobs in July, compared to a revised total of 443,000 in June.

Cuts occurred in a number of industries. Construction lost 76,000 jobs, and manufacturing employment fell by 52,000. Service industries shed 119,000 jobs.

Meanwhile, some industries boosted payrolls. Health care grew by 19,600, and government employment increased by 7,000.

Despite the signs of improvement, competition for jobs could intensify in coming months. Many experts predict the unemployment rate will exceed 10 percent by early 2010, as discouraged workers rejoin the labor force.

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