Note: The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of Local Tech Wire and business editor of WRAL.com.

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – The lead – i.e. the most newsworthy – conclusion in Manpower’s latest employment survey was buried at the bottom of the press release disclosing hiring for the last quarter of the year.

“Clearly there are signs of a softening labor market, but when we consider what we are hearing from our clients and by looking at our own business, there is reason to be cautiously optimistic," said Manpower’s top executive Jeff Joerres.

Keep reading.

"The hiring intentions for the fourth quarter are not enough to break through the labor market sound barrier that we’re all eagerly anticipating, as 71 percent of employers indicate no change in hiring."

Manpower did report that Raleigh-Cary is tops in the nation for job prospects, but the improvement is up only slightly from the previous survey. ()

Meanwhile, The Associated Press’ monthly analysis at a county-by-county level across the country, concludes:

“Economic pain failed to ease in July”

Here are the first three paragraphs of the story:

“Americans’ economic struggles persisted in July, largely unchanged from the previous month, according to The Associated Press’ monthly analysis of conditions around the country.

“Nationally, unemployment, foreclosure and bankruptcy rates didn’t budge from June. Yet the economic pain varied among localities, depending on their economic bases. Stress eased in counties whose work forces lean toward areas like agriculture, mining, wholesale trade and finance.

“By contrast, counties with many employees in the retail and real estate industries suffered higher distress in July, according to a statistical analysis by AP.”

Looks like more of a jobless recovery.

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