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June unemployment sticks at 8.2%; 80,000 jobs added

Jeremy Hobson Jul 6, 2012

June unemployment sticks at 8.2%; 80,000 jobs added

Jeremy Hobson Jul 6, 2012

Jeremy Hobson: The news just in from the Labor Department is that the U.S. economy added 80,000 jobs last month. The unemployment rate remains at 8.2 percent.

We’ll get some analysis in a moment, but first, let’s bring in Marketplace’s Mitchell Hartman, who’s been digging deep into the report. He joins us live with some of the details. Mitchell, good morning.

Mitchell Hartman: Hey, good to be here, Jeremy.

Hobson: Well Mitchell , tell us a little about what else the report says.

Hartman: Well, first there’s no big change here; 8.2 percent unemployment means we not adding many new jobs neither are a lot of people dropping out of the job hunt or alternatively coming into the job because things are getting any better. What was growing: the usual we’ve been seeing business and professional jobs, health care; temporary employment was up another 25,000. That’s always a bit hopeful sign because business always hire temps before they start adding to their payrolls permanently.

And unemployment among blacks is up to about 14.5 percent it was 13 percent just back in April. That might reflect all of the local and state government layoffs we’ve been seeing; a lot of teachers, bus drivers and other municipal employees are African-American.

Hobson: Marketplace’s Mitchell Hartman, thanks a lot.

Hartman: You’re welcome.

Hobson: And let’s get some analysis from Julia Coronado, she is chief economist with the investment bank, BNP Paribas and she joins us live from here in New York. Good morning.

Julia Coronado: Good morning.

Hobson: So, Julia what do you make of these numbers?

Coronado: Well, again it’s not a disastrous report but it is a bit of a disappointment. In general, the economy seems to be growing at a modest pace and we’re adding a modest number of jobs; it’s enough to keep the unemployment rate steady but we’re not really making progress.

Hobson: And Mitchell mentioned the government jobs that have been the story over the last few months that there have been cuts in the public sector while the private sector has been adding jobs. Is that playing a big factor, do you think still?

Coronado: It still is an ongoing pattern that the government sector is shrinking while the private sector is gradually recovering. Another aspect of this report is we’ve seen a lot of volatility in the construction sector and so we had expect – that had to do with the warm winter which pulled forward hiring into the winter months and it led to a lot of strong numbers early on and then weak numbers. We were looking for some of that weakness to fade and that’s some of the disappointment here.

We did see construction sector jobs swing positive again but some of the other service sector jobs that are sensitive to consumer spending, sensitive to the global economy — that hiring is starting to slow.

Hobson: And what about Europe? That’s been a big factor in our weak job growth in the last several months, how much of an effect do you think that the European debt crisis had on jobs in June?

Coronado: That’s where I think we do see the impact in service sector hiring. Things like tourism and trade, those kinds of jobs — it’s still positive but it is slower than it was before. And I think that reflects the slower European economy, the slower Chinese economy; in general, the global backdrop has gotten tougher and that is being reflected in slower service sector hiring here at home.

Hobson: And what about looking forward do you think we’re going to be heading into the presidential election with an unemployment rate at or above 8 percent?

Coronado: What I would say is we’ll need to see growth numbers that are stronger than what we’ve been seeing lately to generate jobs that it will be enough to keep the unemployment rate even steady. If not, at this current pace we should start to see the unemployment rate drift higher. We think we need to generate in general, 100,000 and 125,000 jobs per month to keep the unemployment rate steady. So right now, this is a little disappointing; we’re going to need to see better numbers even just to keep it steady.

Hobson: Julia Coronado, chief economist with the investment bank, BNP Paribas, thanks very much.

Coronado: It’s a pleasure.

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