The economy is barely on simmer. Only 80,000 jobs were added to U.S. payrolls in June, while the unemployment rate held steady at 8.2 percent - disappointing yet predictable numbers given the ongoing economic slog. The government report did have a few positive signs: May's payroll gain was revised upward to 77,000, construction employment increased for the first time since January, and average hourly earnings were up a bit. But the overall reading is tepid at best. Second-quarter growth averaged just 75,000 jobs a month, down sharply from 225,000 the previous three months. From the NYT:
"This economy has no forward momentum and little help from monetary or fiscal policy," Kathy Bostjancic, director of Macroeconomic Analysis for the Conference Board, said. "As if that were not enough, ill winds are blowing in from both a contracting Europe and slowing growth in emerging markets. Also, domestic lawmakers' inaction on the upcoming 'fiscal cliff' creates uncertainty that is not conducive to hiring."