The US unemployment rate remained stubbornly high at 8.2 percent in June, with just 80,000 jobs created in the month, according to figures released by the US Labor Department today.
The data is a fresh blow to President Barack Obama, who is seeking re-election in November. Jobs and the strength of the world’s largest economy are key issues for American voters and the latest figures could shift support to Republican candidate Mitt Romney.
On average, the US added 75,000 jobs a month in the second quarter, compared with 226,000 a month in the first three months of the year, suggesting the economy has hit another rough patch, the Associated Press reported.
According to the BBC, June’s figure is well-short of the 125,000 jobs America needs to create each month just to keep pace with the country’s growing population.
And it is miles behind the 250,000-plus new jobs needed on a monthly basis to reduce the unemployment rate to pre-recession levels.
“All the strength we saw in the first quarter has tailed off. Now we are heading into the second half of the year on softer footing,” Jennifer Lee, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, was quoted by MarketWatch as saying.
“Employment growth is slowing, and companies are not hiring as fast as they were.”