Nonfarm payrolls in the US fell for the 7th straight month, as 51,000 more jobs were lost in July. Although negative, the consensus tabbed July for 70,000 job losses, so the report is somewhat bullish. The unemployment rate, in contrast, surged ahead of expectations,to a 5.7% annual rate. Economists were anticipating a number between 5.5 and 5.6%. The unemployment rate is at a 4-year high, and its meteoric rise of 0.7% in the past three months is the fastest increase in the past 26 years.

Manufacturing employment fell by 35,000 in July, bringing losses over the past 12 months to 383,000. Over the month, job losses were widespread with notable declines in transportation equipment (-8,000), wood products (-4,000), and textile mills (-3,000). Machinery added 6,000 jobs over the month.

Employment in construction was down by 22,000 in July. Construction has shed 57,000 jobs since its September 2006 employment peak, with nearly three-quarters of the decline occurring since October 2007. Nearly all of the July employment
decrease came among specialty trade contractors (-20,000), with both the residential and nonresidential components contributing to the decline.

Within professional and business services, employment services lost 34,000 jobs in July, with nearly all of the decline in temporary help services (-29,000). Since January 2008, employment in temporary help services has declined by 185,000. Computer systems design and related services added 7,000 jobs in July.

Wholesale trade employment decreased by 17,000 over the month, with declines in both the durable and nondurable components. Since its peak in November 2007, wholesale trade has lost 57,000 jobs.

Year to date, US payroll employment has fallen by 463,000.

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