The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics released its monthly employment report on Aug. 2, which showed that the national economy added 162,000 jobs in the month of July and the unemployment rate dropped to 7.4 percent. This is even weaker growth than what economists were expecting, forecasting that 185,000 jobs would have been added.

In addition to this tepid—and barely above population growth—rate of job growth for the month, May's job numbers were revised down, from 195,000 jobs added to 176,000 jobs added, and June's job numbers were as well, from 195,000 jobs added to 188,000 jobs added. That's 26,000 fewer jobs added to the economy over the past few months than had been previously reported. Combine that with the lukewarm 162,000 reported for July, and we see a speed bump in the recovery that we've noted over the past few months.

The design and construction industry did not fare so well in July, as you can see in the chart below. Architecture and engineering services lost 2,700 jobs and construction lost 6,000 jobs overall. That wipes out nearly all of June's initially reported gains for architects and engineers and half of the June gains initially reported for the construction industry.

Building construction showed another month of flatlining, adding a mere 400 jobs (100 in residential and 300 in nonresidential), but the real pain was felt by contractors and heavy and civil engineering construction. Contractors generally add the vast majority of the new jobs in construction each month. For July, residential contractors did OK, adding 6,200 jobs. But nonresidential contractors fared terribly, losing 9,800 jobs. Heavy and civil engineering also took a hit, losing 2,000 jobs.

  Not Seasonally Adjusted Seasonally Adjusted
Industry(numbers are in thousands) July 2012 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 July 2012 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 Change from June to July
Architectural and engineering services 1,341.1 1,352.2 1,368.5 1,372.3 1,322.1 1,351.9 1,355.5 1,352.8 -2.7
Construction - all (sum of the below categories) 5,888 5,834 5,992 6,054 5,627 5,791 5,799 5,793 -6
Residential building construction 598.7 585.9 602.2 606.8 576.3 584.3 583.6 583.7 0.1
Nonresidential building construction 676.2 673.2 688.1 694.2 659.7 676.8 678.1 678.4 0.3
Heavy and civil engineering construction 930.2 910.9 940.5 950.4 872 888.6 893.2 891.2 -2
Specialty trade contractors 3,682.7 3,663.5 3,761.1 3,802.4 3,519.0 3,641.1 3,643.7 3,640.1 -3.6