Public sector employment continued to shrink in July, with governments shedding a combined 9,000 jobs for the month.

Data released this morning by the Labor Department indicates steadily declining local government employment remained mostly unchanged last month. Localities slashed an estimated 7,000 teaching and education-related positions, but added more than 6,000 other jobs.

Total monthly local government employment has yet to increase since last August.

Job growth for state government, which reported a slight uptick in employment the first four months of the year, appears to have halted. States cut an estimated 6,000 jobs last month after totals remained unchanged in June.

Another 2,000 federal positions were also cut from payrolls last month.

The private sector fared much better, adding an estimated 163,000 jobs, the most since February. Total gains for June were revised down to 64,000 jobs from a previous estimate of 80,000.

Sectors reporting noticeable increases in July include professional and business services (+49,000), food services and drinking (+29,000) and manufacturing (+25,000).

The U.S. economy has expanded employment by an average of 151,000 jobs per month so far this year.  This hasn’t been enough, though, to lower the unemployment rate in recent months.

The national seasonally-adjusted rate rose to 8.3 percent, back to where it stood in February. The Labor Department calculates the jobless rate using a household survey, different from the survey of businesses measuring employment gains.

Updated unemployment estimates for states are scheduled to be released Aug. 17.

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