Nightly News   |  July 06, 2012

Jobs numbers suggest slowing economy

Although employers did add 80,000 jobs in June, it was the third straight month of weak hiring and dramatically lower than the 226,000 new jobs the economy was adding monthly during the first quarter. NBC’s Tom Costello reports.

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>>> good evening. i'm kate snow in tonight for brian. another month, another new jobs report, and again, the numbers are a big disappointment. 13 million americans need jobs but in june the economy added just 80,000 of them. and the unemployment rate remains stuck at 8.2%. the two presidential candidates as you might expect have two very different views of those numbers and the question tonight, what now? what will it take to get some forward momentum? we're covering the jobs story from several angles. tonight we begin with nbc's tom costello just outside washington, d.c. tom, good evening.

>> reporter: good evening to you, kate. economists generally agree that 8.2% number is deceiving because when you factor in all the people who have given up looking for jobs or those people who have taken part-time jobs just to make ends meet, the real unemployment rate is probably well into double digits. the numbers this morning hit wall street and main street with a thud.

>> the weak ed job-adding quarter in two years.

>> reporter: while employers did add 80,000 jobs in june, it was the third straight month of weak hiring and dramatically lower than the 226,000 new jobs the economy was adding monthly during the first quarter. unemployment is highest among african-americans at 14.4%. on the campaign trail, president obama conceded the numbers aren't good.

>> we've got to grow the economy even faster. we've got to put even more people back to work.

>> reporter: republican candidate mitt romney said mr. obama must shoulder the blame.

>> we have seen the jobs report this morning and it is another kick in the gut to middle class families.

>> reporter: in salem, oregon, 55-year-old rachel norris, a medical secretary for 21 years, is now living off her retirement savings. she has been looking for work for three years after being laid off, applying for 750 jobs with no offers.

>> my biggest fear is i'll end up living on the street and that's never happened to me before. i went to college. i stayed married for 24 years. i'm honest. i have good references. it's very frightening.

>> reporter: she's got an uphill struggle. statistics show the longer you're out of work and the older you are the hard ter is to find work. across the country retailers, transportation, and the government cut jobs last month. who is hiring? professional and business services added 47,000 jobs in june, many just temporary. health care hired 13,000 people. manufacturing added 11,000 jobs. construction added only 2,000 jobs. on average, it takes nine months to find a job.

>> many people are unemployed for long periods of time. their skills and networking not as up to par as it should be. i think that is a huge challenge for the unemployed.

>> reporter: on wall street today a selloff. the dow losing 124 points. to put this number into some sense of context here, in order for us to get the unemployment rate down to 6%, economists say the economy would have to grow and add 360,000 jobs every month for the next three years. the hints of good news in the economy, we have low gas prices , a slight improvement in the housing market , that's hopefully a sign of some recovery. kate, back to you.

>> tom costello, thanks for that