US Employers Add 80,000 Jobs as Economy Struggles
WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. employers added only 80,000 jobs in June, a third straight month of weak hiring that shows the economy is still struggling three years after the recession ended.
The unemployment rate was unchanged at 8.2 percent, the Labor Department said in its report Friday.
The economy added an average of just 75,000 jobs a month in the April-June quarter. That’s one-third of the 226,000 a month created in the first quarter.
For the first six months of the year, U.S. employers added an average of 150,000 jobs a month. That’s fewer than the 161,000 a month for the first half of 2011. And it shows that the job market is weakening.
"It’s a disappointing report," said George Mokrzan, director of economics at Huntington National Bank in Columbus, Ohio. He said the job gains are consistent with sluggish economic growth.
The stock market opened sharply lower. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 146 points in the first hour of trading, and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 15 points, or 1.1 percent.
Money flowed into government bonds, perceived by investors as safer. The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note, which moves in the opposite direction from its price, fell to 1.55 percent, from 1.59 percent on Thursday.
A weaker job market has made consumers less confident. They have pulled back on spending, even though gas prices have plunged since early spring.
Europe’s debt crisis is weighing on U.S. exports, which has slowed growth at U.S. factories. And the scheduled expiration of several big tax cuts at the end of this year has increased uncertainty for many U.S. companies, making many hesitant to hire.
High unemployment could shift momentum to Mitt Romney, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee. An Associated Press-GfK poll released last month found that more than half of those surveyed disapproved of President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy.