The U.S. economy shed more jobs than expected in July while the unemployment rate held steady at 9.5%, a further sign the economic recovery may be losing momentum.

Nonfarm payrolls fell by 131,000 last month as the rise in private-sector employment was not enough to make up for the government jobs lost, the U.S. Labor Department said. Only 71,000 private-sector jobs were added last month while 143,000 temporary workers on the 2010 census were let go.

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