Stocks, Oil Prices Fall with New Jobs Report

Posted July 6th, 2012 at 7:30 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. stocks fell nearly 1 percent, the euro fell to a two-year low and oil prices tumbled more than 3 percent Friday, as new jobs data showed U.S. unemployment stuck at 8.2 percent.

The Labor Department's monthly unemployment report showed the economy adding just 80,000 new jobs in June — far fewer than what is needed to drive down jobless figures.

Some economists had optimistically projected the jobs market would regain more strength. But Friday's report showed the American economy averaging only 75,000 new jobs a month from April through June. About 226,000 jobs were added in the first three-month period of this year.

At the close on Wall Street Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Standard & Poor's 500 and Nasdaq Composite Index all tumbled about 1 percent.

The closely watched monthly jobs and unemployment report has become a barometer for the state of the world's largest economy and is playing a key role in the U.S. presidential election.

Republican nominee Mitt Romney immediately derided President Barack Obama's handling of the economy and said the weak job growth especially hurts middle income families.

“It is another kick in the gut to middle-class families. It is consistent with what I have heard as I have gone across the country and met with families in their homes, in cafes and restaurants, and in break rooms.”

Mr. Obama acknowledged the poor jobs report at a campaign rally in Ohio.

“It's still tough out there.”

President Obama said millions of jobs have been added during his White House tenure, but that the economic advance has not been robust enough to produce security for the middle class.

“But we can't be satisfied because our goal was never to just keep on working to get back to where we were back in 2007. I want to get back to a time when middle-class families and those working to get into the middle class have some basic security.”

No president since World War II has won re-election with a jobless rate above 7.4 percent. Economists say the U.S. economy is unlikely to come close to matching that figure in the next four months before the November election.

Recent national and state surveys of prospective voters give Mr. Obama a slight edge in his matchup with Romney, a one-time venture capitalist and former governor of Massachusetts. But the polls also generally give Romney an edge among voters asked whom they would trust more to handle the U.S. economy for the next four years.

Nearly 13 million U.S. workers remain jobless and the unemployment rate has been higher every month than the 7.8 percent figure when Mr. Obama took office in January 2009. Even with the added jobs in the last three years, the U.S. is still several million jobs short of matching its total employment in 2008, before the onslaught of the global recession.