U.S. job figure are weak for third month

Economy adds only 80,000 jobs in June, analysts report.
By PAUL WISEMAN and CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER Published: July 7, 2012
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The American job machine has jammed. Again.

The economy added only 80,000 jobs in June, the government said Friday, erasing any doubt that the United States is in a summer slump for the third year in a row.

“Let's just agree: This number stinks,” said Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at the investment firm BTIG.

It was the third consecutive month of weak job growth. From April through June, the economy produced an average of just 75,000 jobs a month, the weakest three months since August through October 2010.

The unemployment rate stayed at 8.2 percent — a recession-level figure, even though the Great Recession has technically been over for three years.

The numbers could hurt President Barack Obama's odds for re-election. Mitt Romney, the presumed Republican nominee, said they showed that Obama, in 3½ years on the job, had not “gotten America working again.”

“And the president is going to have to stand up and take responsibility for it,” Romney said in Wolfeboro, N.H. “This kick in the gut has got to end.”

Obama, on a two-day bus tour through the contested states of Ohio and Pennsylvania, focused on private companies, which added 84,000 jobs in June, and took a longer view of the economic recovery.

“Businesses have created 4.4 million new jobs over the past 28 months, including 500,000 new manufacturing jobs,” the president said. “That's a step in the right direction.”

The Labor Department's report on job creation and unemployment is the most closely watched monthly indicator of the U.S. economy. There are four reports remaining before Election Day, including one on Friday, Nov. 2, four days before Americans vote.

No president since World War II has faced re-election with unemployment over 8 percent. It was 7.8 percent when Gerald Ford lost to Jimmy Carter in 1976. Ronald Reagan faced 7.2 percent unemployment in 1984 and trounced Walter Mondale.

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