(CNBC) The U.S. economy created just 80,000 jobs in June and the unemployment rate held steady at 8.2 percent, reflecting continued slow growth in the economy with the presidential election just four months away.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics said private payrolls increased 84,000, while the government lost 4,000 jobs. Economists expected job growth of about 100,000 and the unemployment rate to be unchanged, though many had increased their forecasts based on some recent indicators.
With yet another month of weak employment growth, the second quarter marks the worst three-month period in two years. The period averaged just 75,000 per month, against 226,000 in the first quarter, which benefited from an unusually mild winter.
May’s weak initial 69,000 report was revised upward to 77,000, which made the June growth essentially the same. The April number was revised lower, from 77,000 to 68,000.
“What a disappointing number,” said Jeff Savage, regional chief investment officer for Wells Fargo Private Bank. “This was kind of disastrous. We’re not even keeping up with demographics at this point. This is not going to be liked in the markets.”
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The stock market, where futures had been essentially flat before the jobs number was released at 8:30 am ET, fell sharply, though that disappointment could be tempered by hopes of more stimulus from Washington.
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“QE3 will be back on the table,” Savage said in reference to the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing program. “It will certainly get more serious discussion now. Those who want the Fed to get more involved will have a lot of ammunition off this particular report.”
There were a few bright spots: The overall work week edged higher by 0.1 hour to 34.5 hours and average hourly earnings grew 6 cents to $23.50. Also, one of the surveys the government uses to compute the number showed 128,000 more Americans with jobs.
The birth-death model, which approximates the amount of jobs gained through new businesses created too recently to be counted in the formal survey, added 124,000 positions, meaning that without the estimation the total count would have been a loss of 44,000.
“There is little hope of an acceleration in the pace of job growth any time soon,” said Kathy Bostjancic, director of macroeconomic analysis for The Conference Board. “These conditions are likely to persist at least through the summer and possibly longer.”
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