Employers shed 51,000 jobs in July

The U.S. unemployment rate increased from 5.5 percent in June to 5.7 percent in July—the highest unemployment rate in more than four years—when 51,000 jobs were cut last month, according to USA Today. The jobless rate in July 2007 was 4.7 percent, and 7.1 million people were unemployed compared with 8.8 million people in July 2008.

In addition to cutting jobs, employers cut hours. Hourly employees worked an average of 33.6 hours per week in July—the lowest since November 2004—compared with 33.7 hours per week in June.

Employers have cut jobs every month during 2008 at an average of 68,667 per month; an average of 181,000 jobs were cut per month during the 2001 recession. July's job losses brought the total job losses for 2008 to 463,000.

The manufacturing and construction industries are experiencing some of the most significant job losses. Manufacturers cut 35,000 jobs in July, and construction firms cut 22,000 jobs. The health care industry added 32,900 jobs, and local governments added 16,000 jobs.

The U.S. Department of Labor revised its estimates for job losses in May and June. It reported that 47,000 jobs were lost in May compared with the original count of 62,000, and 51,000 were lost in June compared with the original count of 62,000.

Although hourly earnings increased 0.3 percent to $18.06 from June to July, food and energy prices are outpacing wage gains, and paychecks still aren't stretching far enough.

The Federal Reserve is schedule to meet today to discuss interest rates.

Date : 8/5/2008