Adding only 80,000 jobs in June, the nation's economy remained stalled with unemployment still at 8.2 percent, the third straight month of weak hiring. In fact, the first half of this year's employment trends are trailing 2011's pace. This year's first quarter saw an average of 226,000 jobs added each month, but the April-June quarter saw an increase of only about 75,000 per month.
There were some positive indications in this morning's employment report from the U.S. Labor Department: the average workweek grew to 34.5 hours from 34.4 in May, boosting the average paycheck. And average hourly wages rose 6 cents to $23.50. Hourly pay has increased 2 percent in the past year and is ahead of inflation, which has fallen in recent months along with gas prices.
Overall, approximately one-third of the jobs gained in June were in temporary services. Manufacturing added 11,000 to its payrolls. Additionally, health care added 3,000 jobs and financial services gained 5,000. But retailers, transportation firms and governments all cut jobs from their payrolls.