Applicants lined up to speak to prospective employers at a job fair in New York. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON -- The employment market emerged remained in a spring slump in June as employers added 80,000 jobs.
The nation's unemployment rate was unchanged at 8.2% for the second consecutive month, the Labor Department said Friday.
A consensus of economists had estimated that payrolls grew by 95,000 jobs last month, including 103,000 in the private sector.
Several reports on the labor market Thursday seemed to brighten the outlook, especially the ADP survey that showed substantially higher private-sector job gains in June than the previous two months.
Chris Jones of TD Economics says Friday's government report could be pivotal in helping the Federal Reserve decide on Aug. 1 whether to buy more securities to lower long-term interest rates and stimulate the economy.
Job growth of less than 100,000 a month, he says, likely would increase the chances of additional Fed stimulus, especially since economic indicators increasingly show inflation is not a concern.
The report also could help determine President Obama's reelection chances because voters' perception of the economy tend to take shape in the summer.
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Monthly job growth averaged 252,000 from December through February, raising hopes that a sputtering job market was finally picking up steam. But job gains slowed to a sub-100,000 monthly pace from March through May.
Some economists have attributed the slowdown to warm winter weather that drew construction and manufacturing activity into January and February, but dampened spring hiring. That payback effect is largely over, Jones says.
Still, the economy faces other hurdles. In June, the manufacturing sector contracted for the first time in three years and retail sales were weak, reports this week showed. And the European Central Bank cut interest rates Thursday, underlining that the continent's economy will remain sluggish for some times despite recent signs that officials are prepared to prevent the debt crisis from worsening. That, along with the prospect of higher taxes and reduced government spending in the U.S., has created uncertainy among businesses.