(Private sector job losses and growth, as charted by Steve Benen at Washington Monthly) Unemployment is quite stubbornly stuck at 9.6 percent, in the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Anyone who wants to say this is a really, really bad recession is right. Beyond that, the exact scenario is harder to figure. That’s because layoffs from the U.S. Census, along with local governments cutting back, are skewing the picture. We’re losing more jobs in government than we gaining in the private sector, and that’s part of what’s keeping unemployment where it is. Now Steve Benen of the Washington Monthly has updated his famous bikini graph to show just the monthly gain or loss in private jobs. Our EP Bill Wolff suggest we rename it the thoroughbred graph – like this. With the economy still adding nowhere near enough of private-sector jobs to keep up, let alone make up for what we lost, and with so-called shadow unemployment at 17.1 percent, we’re maybe not racing for greener pastures yet. But it sure feels better than it used to. I don’t know about you, but I do know people who are finding jobs, and I’ve gotten past the point where new people I know are getting laid off each week.