U.S. employers shed 62,000 nonfarm jobs in June signaling that the world's largest economy is struggling to maintain momentum, the latest Labor Department report showed. The unemployment rate held steady last month at 5.5%. The number of job losses was slightly worse than most economists had expected.
"Employment continued to fall in construction, manufacturing, and employment services, while health care and mining added jobs," the report said. The U.S. economy has lost jobs every month of this year so far, and June's job losses followed a loss of a revised 62,000 positions in May. Economists say the U.S. economy needs to create about 100,000 jobs every month to keep up with new workers.
Job losses were particularly heavy in the goods-producing, construction, manufacturing and service sectors. A total of 43,000 positions were lost in the construction industry which has been hit hard by a lengthy slump in the housing market. The manufacturing sector suffered a loss of 33,000 positions while professional and business services firms trimmed their payrolls by 51,000 positions.
Manufacturing, especially the auto sector, has been impacted by a slowdown in economic growth in the past year which has also been exacerbated by a credit squeeze in the banking industry and rocketing crude oil prices. Retailers shed 8,000 jobs while the education and health care sectors added 29,000 new jobs. A gain of 24,000 posts in the leisure and hospitality sectors also helped offset some of last month's job losses.
The labor force participation rate, which includes the number of working-aged people with jobs, showed scant change at 66.1%. Average hourly wages rose 0.3% in June, or six cents, to $18.01. The rise was in line with the forecasts of most economists. The average length of a workweek remained unchanged at 33.7 hours.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008