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Labor Report Shows 62,000 Jobs Lost in June


And the US labor market is in its longest losing streak in six years. Today, the Labor Department announced the economy lost 62,000 jobs in June. It's the sixth strait monthly decline, but the overall unemployment rate held steady at about five and a half percent. NPR's Chris Arnold has more.

CHRIS ARNOLD: The job losses in June were about in line with most economists' expectations, so the stock market wasn't rattled. But the Labor Department did revise its data downward for the previous month to show an additional 13,000 more jobs were lost in May.

Dr. NARIMAN BEHRAVESH (Chief Economist, Global Insight): I guess the way I would characterize this report is it's bad news, but it's not terrible news.

ARNOLD: That's Nariman Behravesh, chief economist with Global Insight.

Dr. BEHRAVESH: And it think it's consistent with the US economy and being in a mild recession.

ARNOLD: Behravesh says the labor market continues to weaken, fuel prices keep rising, and there are ongoing problems in the housing and credit markets. And he says it's still unclear whether mild recession is going to be the right term.

Dr. BEHRAVESH: A lot depends on what happens to oil prices. If oil prices continue to rise, then I think we're headed for, you know, a continuation of this struggling economy.

ARNOLD: If oil prices get up above, say, 160 or near $200 a barrel, Behravesh says that's going to make a recession a lot worse. But he says so far, many sectors of the economy remain pretty resilient. And he says there are some bright spots. The weak dollar is helping some parts of the manufacturing sector and also bolstering tourism in the US.

Chris Arnold, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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