First impression of the August non-farm labor report from the government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics: It’s not as bad as it could be. The top-line stats are unpleasant: Payroll employment dropped by 54,000 in August and the unemployment rate rose from 9.5 percent to 9.6 percent. But the drop is more than accounted for by the removal of 114,000 Census workers from the rolls. Private-sector employment, according to the government, rose by 67,000.

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