US Job Growth Weak in June

Posted July 6th, 2012 at 12:40 pm (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 average of 226,000 added in the early months 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 immediately derided U.S. President Barack Obama's handling of the economy and said the weak job growth especially hurts middle-income families.

“It is a 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 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.