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Just 80,000 Jobs Added In June; Unemployment Rate Stays At 8.2 Percent

Jul 6, 2012
Originally published on July 6, 2012 11:43 am

Job growth was even weaker than economists feared in June as public and private employers added just 80,000 jobs to their payrolls, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning. They had been expecting BLS would say there were closer to 100,000 more jobs in June than in May.

A separate BLS survey showed the nation's jobless rate remained stuck at 8.2 percent. It's been above 8 percent since February 2009.

The news will add to pressure on the Federal Reserve to do more to give the sluggish U.S. economy a boost and will add further fuel to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's argument that President Obama has done more harm than good when it comes to the economy. The Obama campaign counters that while job growth has slowed, there have been gains each month for more than two years as the economy recovers from what was a deep recession.

This morning, Romney called the jobs news "another kick in the gut to middle class families" and said it shows that Obama's policies "have not gotten America working again."

The White House made the case that there are "no quick fixes" and that the nation needs to stay with Obama's policies in order to keep making progress on bringing down unemployment. The president told supporters in Ohio that there's been "a step in the right direction" — 4.4 million new jobs in the past 28 months — but that "we can't be satisfied because our goal was never to just keep on working to get to where we were in 2007."

We updated this post with more from the report and reactions to it.

Update at 11:10 a.m. ET. "We've Been Steady":

Turning to the economy, the president echoes his economic adviser's analysis (which we posted earlier), saying that turning around the economy "wasn't going to happen overnight. ... We've been steady and we've worked hard" to produce jobs, he says.

Obama points to the "4.4 million new jobs over the past 28 months" and says it's "a step in the right direction."

But, he adds, "we can't be satisfied because our goal was never to just keep on working to get to where we were in 2007."

The economy's problems, he says, are being deepened by "a stalemate in Washington."

Update at 11 a.m. ET. What's At Stake:

In his opening comments, the president is focusing on the campaign — not the employment report. "The choice in this election could not be bigger and the stakes could not be higher," he says to supporters in Poland, Ohio.

Update at 10:55 a.m. ET. Obama At The Podium:

The president just came to the microphone at his campaign event in Poland, Ohio.

Update at 10:15 a.m. ET. Obama Expected To Speak This Hour:

The president is due at a campaign event in Ohio this hour and C-SPAN expects to stream its coverage starting at 10:45 a.m. ET.

Update at 10:04 a.m. ET. Romney Points At Obama:

"The president's policies have not gotten America working again and the president is going to have to stand up and take responsibility for it," Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney says. He's also making the case again for lower taxes.

Update at 10:03 a.m. ET. Romney Calls It A "Kick In The Gut":

Today's news is "another kick in the gut to middle class families," Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney says.

Update at 10:02 a.m. ET. Romney Statement Coming Up:

The GOP candidate is due to comment on the report any minute now. C-SPAN is streaming it here.

Update at 10 a.m. ET. White House Says "There Are No Quick Fixes":

"The economy has now added private sector jobs for 28 straight months, for a total of 4.4 million payroll jobs during that period," Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Alan Krueger says in a statement emailed to reporters by the White House. "Employment is growing but it is not growing fast enough given the jobs deficit caused by the deep recession."

He adds, as the White House has in past months, that "it is critical that we continue the policies that build an economy that works for the middle class and makes us stronger and more secure as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession. There are no quick fixes to the problems we face that were more than a decade in the making."

Update at 9:50 a.m. ET. Stocks Are Down:

In early trading on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average is down about 130 points, or 1 percent. Other indices are also lower.

Update at 9:45 a.m. ET. What To Say? Some Choices:

Here are some of the key words and phrases we see in news outlets' opening paragraphs about the jobs figure.

-- Weak.

-- Dismal.

-- Scant.

-- Barely picked up.

-- Dashing hopes.

-- Meager.

-- Lukewarm.

Update at 9:25 a.m. ET. Romney To Comment:

According to a statement from his campaign, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will "respond to the June unemployment report" at 10 a.m. ET. He's on vacation in New Hampshire.

Update at 9:20 a.m. ET. Unemployment Charts:

Our colleagues at Planet Money have a post showing "How Unemployment Has Dragged On, In Three Charts."

Update at 9:15 a.m. ET. Jobless Rate's Recent Peak Was 10 Percent:

When the economy officially slipped into recession in December 2007, BLS data show, the unemployment rate was 5 percent. It stood at 9.5 percent when the economy officially came out of recession in the early summer of 2009. From there, it rose to 10 percent in October 2009 (unemployment tends to keep going up for at least a few months after the economy starts growing again). It stayed above 9 percent until October 2009 and this year has ranged from 8.1 percent to 8.3 percent.

Update at 9:05 a.m. ET. "Underemployment" Rose Too:

Bloomberg News points out that "the so-called underemployment rate — which includes part-time workers who'd prefer a full-time position and people who want work but have given up looking — increased to 14.9 percent from 14.8 percent."

Update at 9 a.m. ET. April Job Growth Revised Downward:

While, as we said earlier, the May job growth estimate was revised up slightly, BLS says that "the change in total nonfarm payroll employment for April was revised from +77,000 to +68,000."

Update at 8:55 a.m. ET. "President Obama's Policies Have Failed," Boehner Says:

"Today's report shows the private sector clearly isn't 'doing fine' and that President Obama's policies have failed," House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, says in a statement his office just emailed to reporters.

"The president needs to stop betting on his failed policies and start working with Republicans to remove government obstacles to job creation," Boehner adds.

The White House typically posts its first reaction to the employment reports on its blog. We'll watch for that and pass along highlights.

Update at 8:45 a.m. ET. Early Analyses:

-- The Wall Street Journal says the report is "the latest sign that economic growth has slowed."

-- Reuters says "employers hired at a dismal pace in June, raising pressure on the Federal Reserve to do more to boost the economy and further imperiling President Barack Obama's chances of reelection in November."

-- "During the winter," writes The New York Times, "the economy seemed to be picking up steam, as private companies took on more and more workers and the unemployment rate dropped steadily. But then job growth slowed suddenly in March, leading some economists to wonder if the unseasonably warm winter, rather than a fundamentally healthier economy, had been the real source of the temporary employment surge."

Update at 8:40 a.m. ET. More Details:

-- May's Job Growth Revised Up Slightly: BLS now says there were 77,000 jobs added to public and private payrolls in May — a small number in an economy the size of the USA's, but slightly more than the 69,000 in the bureau's original estimate.

-- Job Growth Slowed Sharply In The Quarter: According to the bureau, "in the second quarter, employment growth averaged 75,000 per month, compared with an average monthly gain of 226,000 for the first quarter of the year. Slower job growth in the second quarter occurred in most major industries."

Our original post, from 7:05 a.m. ET. "After May's 'Lousy' News, Will June's Jobs Report Be Much Better?"

"Horrid. Lousy. Awful."

That's how our post began last month when we reported about the May jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics — which showed just 69,000 net jobs added to public and private payrolls and an unemployment rate that ticked up to 8.2 percent from April's 8.1 percent.

This morning at 8:30 a.m. ET, BLS is due to tell us about the employment picture in June. On Morning Edition, NPR's Chris Arnold said economists expect BLS will say there were about 90,000 jobs added to payrolls last month — "tepid job growth," he added. There likely weren't enough new jobs to bring down the jobless rate, economists say.

Indeed, Reuters writes that job growth is "stuck in low gear" and says economists think the jobless rate stayed at 8.2 percent.

On the slightly positive side, though, The Wall Street Journal says that Thursday's employment report from ADP (which we posted about) did spur "economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires" to raise their estimate of June job growth to at least 100,000 and in some cases to 125,000 from the 95,000 they had been expecting.

We'll update this post with news from the report and reactions to it. Among things to watch for besides the June job growth and unemployment figures: revisions to the May numbers.

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