Jobless Report for July to be Released Friday

Posted August 3rd, 2012 at 7:00 am (UTC-5)
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Economists expect the U.S. Labor Department's hiring and unemployment report will show employers added just 100,000 jobs in July.

Friday's report is also expected show the unemployment rate holding steady at 8.2 percent for a third straight month.

Hiring has dropped sharply since the start of the year, from an average of well over 200,000 jobs a month between January and March, to an average of 75,000 between April and June. The European sovereign debt crisis, plus worries about automatic tax hikes and spending cuts that go into effect in in the U.S. in January, have led businesses to cut back on hiring, and consumers to cut back on spending. Recent data shows the U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of just 1.5 percent between April and June.

Another mediocre jobs report will likely prompt the U.S. central bank, the Federal Reserve, to take new steps to boost the struggling economy.

The unemployment rate has held steady at 8 percent or above since early 2009, a factor which could also harm President Barack Obama's chances of being re-elected in November.