I'd say "treading water," but I think that implies that one's head is above the surface...
According to the latest from the BLS, employment fell by 131,000 in July. Private-sector payrolls increased by 71,000, but the government shed 202,000 jobs (143,000 of which were temporary census workers). The unemployment rate held steady at 9.5%, mainly because labor force participation ticked downward again.The 48,000 decline in state and local government employment reminds us why the state aid bill that just passed the Senate is necessary (but insufficient!).
The report also included a downward revision in June payrolls to a loss of 221,000 (from 125,000); the June gain in private-sector employment now stands at 31,000 (versus 83,000 originally estimated).
As always, Economix has a good write-up; Calculated Risk has nice pictures, and RTE has a roundup of Wall Street reaction. On the politics, Ezra Klein asks "what is the White House thinking?"