After two straight months of anemic job growth, the U.S. economy added 117,000 jobs in July.

The first Friday of every month brought little economic sunshine of late, with just 43,000 new jobs in May and June and the jump to 9.2 percent unemployment.

Today's U.S. Department of Labor report brings some positive news in a week of gloom. Amid a spate of negative economic reports, many economists expected the worst.

The private sector added 154,000 jobs, with a loss of 37,000 government jobs. Job gains occurred in the healthcare, retail trade, manufacturing (almost all in durable goods), and mining sectors.

While July's growth alleviated some worries, it was not enough to make a significant improvement in the struggling labor market.

The unemployment rate dropped slightly, to 9.1 percent, although that was attributed to 193,000 people leaving the workforce, many of them discouraged by lack of opportunities.

Economists estimate the economy needs to add about 150,000 jobs a month just to keep pace with population growth.

The national economy has recovered only 1.9 million of the 8.7 million jobs lost since the recession began.

Whether Connecticut added new jobs in July will not be known until August 19, when the state Department of Labor releases its monthly report.

Connecticut lost almost 10,000 jobs in May and June and the state's unemployment rate stands at 9.1 percent.