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How Europe watches American unemployment

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Samantha Cameron, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, British Prime Minister David Cameron Nick Clegg, Leader of the Liberal Democrats and Prince Harry watch on during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England.

Jeremy Hobson: Today the world is watching us here in the U.S. The Labor Department is about to tell us how many jobs
were created in the U.S. last month and what the new unemployment rate is. It's seen as a key indicator for the health of the U.S. economy, which is still the largest in the world.

For the view from abroad let's bring in the BBC's economics correspondent Andrew Walker in London. Good morning.

Jeremy Hobson: Let’s bring in the BBC’s economics correspondent Andrew Walker, in London. Good morning.

Walker: Good morning Jeremy.

Hobson: Well Andrew, this is obviously a big story here in the United States. How much is Europe paying attention to the jobs picture in the U. S.?

Walker: Well look, the United States is a very important export market for many countries in Europe. It’s also connected through all kinds of financial market inter-linkages. So the jobs figures really do matter. If you get an unexpectedly bad jobs report than it almost always has some sort of affect on European stock markets.

I have to say that, in terms of the current situation, Europe is rather preoccupied with its own domestic problems – the “eurozone” crisis pretty much overwhelms everything else. But it does remain the case -- even in these troubled times in Europe -- that the U.S. jobs numbers will have some sort of impact.

Hobson: And Andrew, from your vantage point in London what does the U.S. economy look like? Does it look like its heading back into recession? Does look like the recovery is going strong? What do things look like?

Walker: From over here, it doesn’t look like it’s actually going into recession as long as, that is to say, American politicians deal with this “fiscal cliff” issue that’s coming up at the end of the year. But it does feel like its an economy that’s weaker than we would normally expect it to be and correspondingly not quite so much of a help in getting Europe out of the problems it has itself -- pretty much homegrown problems.

Hobson: Now I’m sure the financial economic watchers like you will be paying attention to the jobs number when it comes out. I imagine the rest of the people around you are probably watching the Olympics though.

Walker: Absolutely, yes. Your dead right. I will take careful note of the job numbers but I will try and get back to the Olympics as quickly as I can afterwards.  

Hobson: BBC economic correspondent, Andrew Walker. Thank you very much.

Walker: My pleasure, Jeremy.

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