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June's U.S. jobs report released today (Friday) deflated the brief celebratory mood that followed Thursday's upbeat employment data, and ended a second quarter packed with weak economic figures.
The U.S. Labor Department reported Friday that employers added a skimpy 80,000 jobs in June, much less than analysts' estimates of 100,000-125,000. The jobless rate remains at an elevated 8.2%.
The fresh data concludes a dismal second quarter.
In the first quarter of 2012, the average number of monthly jobs created was 226,000. In the second quarter that average fell to a measly 75,000. While job gains in April and May deviated little from estimates, June's data was significantly lower than anticipated.
"Today's report is the rotten cherry atop the half-baked economic news of the last few months," TD Bank's Chris Jones said in a note.
Roughly one-third of the jobs added in June were in temporary services. Manufacturing added 11,000, marking its ninth straight month of gains, while growth in factory jobs dropped off sharply in the second quarter. Healthcare jobs grew by 13,000 and financial services added 5,000. Meanwhile, retailers, transportation firms, and the government slashed jobs.
Friday's lackluster report came on the heels of some encouraging data.
On Thursday, ADP's employment report showed that private employers added 176,000 jobs in June — far exceeding economists' expectations of 95,000. Small businesses and service firms were responsible for most of the gains.
Another optimistic sign Thursday was the decline in the number of first-time applicants for jobless benefits. First-time claims dipped by 14,000 to 373,000, while the four-week average slid by 1,500 to 385,000.
Any optimism had faded Friday after the U.S. jobs report came out. The Dow Jones was down more than 180 points by noon.