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June jobs report could show if U.S. economy is weakening

AP file photo

Job applicants line up at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood during a job fair in Hollywood, Fla., on June 4.

The Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — The June jobs report being released Friday will likely help determine whether the U.S. economy has stabilized or is gradually weakening.

The evidence is conflicting. Consumer spending has solidified. Home sales are rebounding. But America’s manufacturing sector is slowing along with construction spending. Growth in the services sector, which includes such varied industries as restaurants, finance and recreation, slowed in June.

Economists have estimated that the government will report that employers added 164,000 jobs in June, according to data provider FactSet. That would roughly match the average monthly gain this year and would mark a healthy rebound from the meager 75,000 jobs that were added in May.

For June, the unemployment rate is expected to hold at 3.6 percent — the lowest level since 1969 — for a third straight month.

The slowdown in hiring during May suggested that employers had grown more cautious in the face of weaker global growth, political showdowns over trade and, perhaps, some difficulty in finding enough qualified workers at the wages companies are willing to pay.

“Most economists have been expecting payrolls to slow down for a couple of years now,” said Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Amherst Pierpont Securities. “With all of the low-hanging fruit already being harvested, firms are basically going to run out of qualified people to hire.”Speech

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