As a resident skeptic at CNBC, I take pride in being able to sift through upbeat government economic reports and cry "bull you-know-what," often without breaking a sweat.
But looking through the July jobs report, it's really hard to find much to gripe about.
First and foremost, divining relevance from these data releases usually requires one to dismiss the headline numbers. So when I see something like "255,000 new jobs and a 4.9 percent unemployment rate," my first reaction is usually, "so what?"
What is the quality of jobs? Are wages rising or falling? What's happening with the labor force? Have more people left it? Are the jobs part time or full time? I even like looking at metrics like the "diffusion index," which measures the percentage of companies hiring against those either stagnating or decreasing payrolls.
In short, I pretty much geek out on these reports the way it is, but especially so when it comes to the nonfarm payrolls numbers released the first Friday of each month. (If you don't believe in my abilities to deconstruct and demolish these reports, go here and here and here.)
The latest report, though, was a personal disappointment, which is to say it was really hard to find much wrong.
The professions where jobs were added looked pretty good. Yes, services dominated again with 70,000, but it's important to know that not all service-sector jobs are created equal. In July, 37,400 of the total came from professional and technical jobs, including 8,200 for computer systems design, another 6,500 from architectural and engineering services and 5,600 in management and technical consulting.