'A kick in the gut': Romney slams Obama for sluggish employment figures after as President insists June's 80,000 new jobs are a 'step in the right direction'.
President Barack Obama has hailed a jobs report that revealed that unemployment remained at 8.2 per cent, the third consecutive month of weak employment growth, and triggered a plunge in stocks as a 'step in the right direction'.
US Labour Department statistics for June showed that just 80,000 jobs were added to the economy in June, 10,000 below the already pessimistic consensus among economists and just 3,000 more than the paltry 77,000 in May that sent unemployment back up to 8.2 per cent.
Unemployment has now been at 8 per cent or higher for 41 months, the longest period of such levels since the Great Depression.
The US gained just 225,000 jobs in the past three months, fewer than in January alone and the weakest quarter of job growth for two years. If 2.5 million people who have given up searching for work had not been removed by statisticians, unemployment would be 14.9 per cent.
An average of just 75,000 jobs per month were been added to the US economy in the second quarter of the year, compared to 226,000 a month in the first quarter.
June saw unemployment rise to 14.4 per cent for black Americans and remain at 11 per cent for Hispanics. 780,000 more women are unemployed compared to the number when Obama took office in January 2009.
Obama and the White House, however, tried to put a positive spin on what was almost universally greeted as dismal news.