Bloomberg (07/29/12) Shobhana Chandra
The median forecast of 68 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News ahead of U.S. Department of Labor figures set to be released Aug. 3 predicts a payroll increase of 100,000 workers will follow an 80,000 gain in June, with unemployment projected to hold at 8.2%. “The pace of hiring is pretty lackluster,” says Omair Sharif, a U.S. economist at RBS Securities Inc. “It’s going to be a painfully slow grind lower on the unemployment rate. Firms have become cautious as the U.S. is slowing a fair bit and global markets are getting worse.”
Payroll gains slowed to an average 75,000 in the April to June period, down from 226,000 in the first quarter and the weakest in almost two years. The jobless rate has exceeded 8% since February 2009, the longest stretch in monthly records going back to 1948. “Given that growth is projected to be not much above the rate needed to absorb new entrants to the labor force, the reduction in the unemployment rate seems likely to be frustratingly slow,” U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said in testimony to Congress this month. Fed policy makers will meet ahead of the jobs report to decide whether additional stimulus is needed to combat a slowing economy as Europe’s debt crisis lingers.
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