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 weakest three-month period in two years.
May’s weak initial 69,000 report was revised upward to 77,000, which made the June number essentially flat.
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.
But it was an otherwise dismal report that will up the stakes in the race between President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney. […]