US Job Growth Weak in June

Posted July 6th, 2012 at 9:50 am (UTC-5)
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The sluggish U.S. labor market added just 80,000 new jobs in June, as the country's jobless rate stayed at 8.2 percent.

Some economists had projected that the American jobs market might regain more strength. But the government reported Friday that the American economy has now added an average of only 75,000 jobs a month over the April-to-June period, far short of the 226,000 jobs added in the first quarter of the year.

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 challenger Mitt Romney, in daily campaign broadsides criticizing President Barack Obama, says the White House has failed to bring the American economy back from the depths of its biggest freefall since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Mr. Obama has countered that the recovery is not as fast as he would like, but that his policies are working and have added several million jobs during his White House tenure.

No president since World War Two 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.

The American economy also has been buffeted by the stagnant economic fortunes of Europe's 17-nation euro currency bloc, one of its largest trading partners, and the slowing economy in China, the second largest in the world.