The nation's unemployment rate dipped slightly to 9.4 percent in July, the first drop in more than a year. According to the Chron, the Labor Department reported that employers cut 247,000 jobs in July compared with 443,000 in June, when the jobless rate was 9.5 percent. But the modestly good news was tempered by the fact that 400,000 people dropped out of the labor force and stopped searching for work, thereby artificially lowering the unemployment figures. In addition, retail businesses shed more jobs in July than in June as consumer spending remained weak. Some economists expect the national jobless rate to top 10 percent later this year.