For desperate job seekers, June's employment report from the Labor Department contained little -- if any -- good news.
The U.S. economy added far fewer jobs than analysts expected, just 80,000, compared to the 90,000 forecast, and the unemployment rate remained at 8.2 percent, or 12.7 million people.
The number of new jobs created is well below the 125,000 necessary each month just to keep up with population growth. Moreover, the weak report is concerning to many because it shows that the economic rebound that was thought to be finally on the way appears to have been sidelined.
The June report largely showed a labor market that remains stagnant:
- The number of long-term unemployed is unchanged: 5.4 million Americans have been unemployed for six months or more, the same as in May. They account for 41.9 percent of all unemployed workers.
- The total number of unemployed people remains the same: The Labor Department report showed that 12.7 million Americans are unable to find work. But the report also noted that the number of so-called "discouraged workers" stood at 821,000, down 161,000 from a year earlier.
- Many part-time workers still struggle to find full-time work: The number of "involuntary part-time workers" -- in other words those who would prefer to work full-time but can't find sufficient work -- remained unchanged at 8.2 million.
But there were pockets of optimism for some job seekers:
- Manufacturers continue to add jobs: The manufacturing sector added 11,000 jobs in June, including 7,000 jobs related to motor vehicles and parts. Manufacturers added an average of 10,000 jobs during the April-June quarter, though that's far fewer than the monthly average of 41,000 jobs jobs during the first three months of the year.
- More jobs were added in May than first thought: The economy added a revised 77,000 jobs in May, up from the 69,000 initially reported last month, though April's job-creation number was revised downward to 68,000 from 77,000.
- More jobs in heath care and wholesale trade: Employers in these sectors added 13,000 and 9,000 jobs, respectively, last month, the report said. Further, the ongoing cut in government jobs ebbed in June, with employment levels showing little change.
- More veterans have jobs: Unemployment among veterans who've served since 9/11 dropped 4 points in the past year, with 66,000 more of them now employed, CareerBuilder notes.
Today's report from the Labor Department was disappointing in part because two private-sector surveys released Thursday suggested the labor market was growing again.
Payroll-provider ADP said businesses added 176,000 jobs last month -- better than the revised total of 136,000 jobs it reported for May -- and employment-services firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. reported that planned job cuts by employers fell 39 percent to 37,551 from nearly 62,000 in May.
Those upbeat findings were bolstered by an another report released this morning by employment website Glassdoor, which showed that unemployed workers are more positive about their job search. Forty-two percent of those surveyed said they believe it is likely they will find a job in the next six months, up six points from the previous quarter, which ended March 31.
Still, Glassdoor's quarterly Employment Confidence Survey showed 42 percent showed that nearly a third of workers (30 percent), including those who are self employed, think it's unlikely they could find a job matched to their experience and pay within six months if they were laid off.
That sentiment falls in line with yet another survey by the Society for Human Resource Management, which forecasts slow hiring in July. The group said yesterday it expects no significant U.S. hiring gains this month compared to July 2011.