WASHINGTON (July 6, 2012)--U.S. employers added only 80,000 jobs in June, a third straight month of weak hiring that shows the economy is struggling, according to the U.S. Labor Department, which reported Friday the unemployment rate was unchanged at 8.2 percent.
The economy has added just 75,000 jobs a month in the April-June quarter, one-third of 226,000 a month created in the first quarter.
Job creation is also trailing last year's pace through the first six months of 2012.
A weaker job market has made consumers less confident.
They have pulled back on spending, even though gas prices have plunged.
High unemployment could shift momentum to Mitt Romney, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee.
An Associated Press-GfK poll released last month found that more than half of those surveyed disapproved of President Barack Obama's handling of the economy.
Romney Friday blamed the president for the sluggish growth and said his policies would work better than Mr. Obama’s.
Romney said Friday's report is evidence that Mr. Obama's tax, energy and regulatory policies are hampering growth.
Romney said he would lower taxes, reduce regulations on energy producers, open new trade with Latin America and crack down on China for what he described as unfair practices that steal American jobs.
He said the nation's 8.2 percent unemployment rate doesn't reflect the number of Americans who are underemployed or have quit looking for work.
Romney spoke 10 minutes and took five questions from reporters in New Hampshire, where he is vacationing.
U.S. Rep. Bill Flores, R-Bryan, echoed Romney’s sentiments in a statement issued Friday morning.
"Under the Obama economy we have seen the labor force participation rate drop to a 32 year low. In addition, U.S. manufacturing has shrunk to its lowest level in three years and nearly half of recent college graduates are unable to find employment,” he said.
“With last week's Supreme Court decision to uphold the president's health care law, American job creators now face even more economic uncertainty, making it even harder for small businesses to hire,” he said.