The pace of decline lessened last month, making July's job loss the lowest since August 2008. At the same time, though, unemployment continued to soar to a 26-year high of 9.7 percent, according to the Labor Department.
Non-farm payrolls contracted by 247,000 jobs and while that was the 19th month in a row of job losses. It was a positive surprise, however, and the market took these numbers as a sign that an improving employment environment would soon follow.
Two thousand jobs were lost in July, and revisions to June brought the total job loss for these two months to 3,700 - which is quite modest compared to employment figures posted earlier this year.
July was one of the best periods since August of last year, and this suggests that a recovery in employment is under way.
We are seeing a real stirring of activity from employers, who are looking for financial services sales people at all levels. Demand for other job areas, particularly salaried positions, remains weak.
Finance and Insurance
This broader group, which includes banks, insurance and securities firms, showed strength, as well. The past two months have yielded a job loss total of less than 3,000 jobs - quite an improvement over January of this year, when over 50,000 jobs were eliminated.
With most economists' now saying that the economy is no longer on the brink; the employment outlook for the next six to 12 months is now brighter than in many months.
Jeff Testerman is vice president of sales for BrokerHunter.com, based near Atlanta; reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org