We’re heading in the right direction, just very, very slowly. And there’s still a long way to go. For June, unemployment drops to 9.5%, net job loss, but 83,000 private sector jobs added.

The United States added just 83,000 private-sector jobs in June, a dishearteningly low number that could add to the growing number of economists who warn that the economic recovery has slowed to the point that it cannot generate enough job growth.

Over all, the nation lost 125,000 jobs, according to the monthly snapshot of the job market released by the Labor Department on Friday. Most of the lost jobs came as temporary workers hired by the federal government for the 2010 Census exited their jobs. The unemployment rate, based on a different survey, declined to 9.5 percent in June from the previous 9.7 percent. This decline came only because the nation’s labor force shrank by 652,000 jobs.

Just as last month’s government job report appeared deceptively robust, swollen by 411,000 workers hired by the federal government to help with the Census, so the June report appears deceptively anemic, as the government shed many of those same temporary census workers.

And signs of strength could be spotted. Although quite weak by historic standards, the 83,000 private-sector jobs created in June more than doubled the count in May. And in the first six months of last year, the nation lost 3.7 million private-sector jobs; during the first six months of this year it gained 590,000.