Unemployment dips to 9.1% in July
It's not great news because the decrease in the unemployment rate from 9.2 to 9.1 was entirely due to people leaving the work force.
But the economy added a greater than expected 117,000 jobs and figures for May and June were revised upward.
Will it be enough to head off another big sell off on Wall Street today?
The payrolls count for May and June was revised to show 56,000 more jobs added than previously reported.
The report was the first encouraging piece of economic data in some time.
Fears that U.S. economy might be sliding back into recession, coupled with Europe's inability to tame its spreading debt crisis have roiled global financial markets. Economists see the odds of a recession as high as 40 percent.
U.S. stocks on Thursday suffered their worst sell-off in two years.
Top policymakers at the Federal Reserve will sift through the report when they meet on Tuesday but are not expected to announce any new measures to support the sputtering recovery.
The U.S. central bank has cut interest rates to zero and spent $2.3 trillion on bonds. Policymakers have said they want to see how the economy fares before taking any further action.
It's still not enough jobs to keep pace with the number of monthly entrants into the job market - 160,000 or so - but any sliver of good news will be grasped by investors like a drowning man reaching for a life preserver. Unless news out of Europe regarding the debt problems of Spain and Italy gets worse, Wall Street may have dodged a bullet - today.