Today, BLS released data for July. Nonfarm payroll employment growth of 165,000 exceeded expectations of 100,000 (Bloomberg). However, overall, employment indicators continue to rise only slowly.
Figure 1: Nonfarm payroll employment (blue), and household series adjusted to conform to NFP concept (red), and three month centered moving average (dark red). NBER defined recession dates shaded gray. Source: BLS, NBER and author’s calculations.
Figure 2: Log nonfarm payroll employment (blue), private nonfarm payroll employment (red), and private average weekly hours index (dark red), all normalized to 2007M12=0. NBER defined recession dates shaded gray. Source: BLS, NBER and author’s calculations.
Note that private payrolls have been growing faster than total nonfarm. That’s because — in contrast to previous recoveries — the government has been shedding jobs (105,000 over the past year), particularly at the state and local level  (can’t have too few teachers — we’re smart enuff already!).
Update 8/4/2012, 8:10am: Perspective from Jeff Frankel.