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Report indicates another poor showing for U.S. jobs market

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    U.S. nonfarm private-sector employers added 84,000 jobs in June, holding the national unemployment rate at 8.2 percent, the federal Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today, marking the fourth consecutive month of disappointing job growth.

    According to the report, total nonfarm employment increased by 80,000 jobs, as 4,000 government jobs were lost. May's job numbers were revised slightly up, from 69,000 to 77,000.

    "We've been at about 75,000 jobs a month for the last three months, and that's just not sustainable. We're close to stall speed," said Joel Naroff, president of Holland, Pa.-based Naroff Economic Advisors Inc., who said Thursday the U.S. economy should have added between 200,000 and 250,000 jobs this month to nudge down the unemployment rate and drive the growth of the gross domestic product above 1.5 percent.

    "When you go back to the middle of June, what was driving businesses' decision-making was waiting for the health care decision to come down and watching the crisis in Europe reach a boil, and neither one created large amounts of enthusiasm for hiring. Confidence seems to be a major driver right now, and there's not a whole lot of reasons for businesses to be confident."

    Naroff said businesses may be less cautious to hire in July, since "the issue in Europe has eased after being kicked down the road for several months," but he noted that "weak job growth numbers is a self-sustaining cycle, and if businesses can't count on stronger consumer spending, they'll wonder where the demand will come from — and then they're not gonna hire."

    "We're really stuck here. There's nothing, at least right now, that would change things significantly this year," Naroff said.

    Industry sectors that had significant, yet modest, increases in employment were professional and business services, with 47,000 jobs; health care, with 13,000 jobs; and manufacturing, with 11,000 jobs. The number of those jobless for 27 weeks or more — who now make up 41.9 percent of the unemployed — was unchanged from 5.4 million in May.

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