U.S. private employers added 71,000 jobs in July, indicating the U.S. labor market and the economy at large are slow to recover from recession.

A report Friday from the Labor Department shows the unemployment rate stayed unchanged at 9.5 percent.

Economists closely watch the private payrolls figure, because private companies do the bulk of hiring in the United States.  Employment is also a big indicator of consumer spending, as those who are unemployed or worried about job stability tend to spend less.

The country lost jobs overall in July, due in large part to cuts at the U.S. Census Bureau. The government agency cut about 144,000 temporary employees who were hired for only a couple of months to conduct the once-a-decade population count.