Economy

June Estimate: 60,000 U.S. Jobs Lost

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The Labor Department releases employment estimates for June on Thursday. As the economy has worsened, consumers have cut back on spending, and job losses have spread through different sectors.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

Investors around the globe are keeping an eye on a key economic report due out from the U.S. government today. Analysts expect the monthly employment report will show a loss of about 60,000 jobs. It could be the sixth straight decline this year. NPR's Frank Langfitt reports.

FRANK LANGFITT: When government data comes out today, analysts expect a majority of the losses will come in the usually weak areas - construction and manufacturing. But as the economies worsen this year, consumers have cut back on spending. And the pain in job losses has spread into the service sector.

John Silvia is chief economist with Wachovia. He says the ripple effects are easy to see.

Mr. JOHN SILVIA (Wachovia): You can walk into most apparel stores in the United States today and there's a sale. And you can look into a lot of restaurants and you see a lot more coupons being offered.

LANGFITT: Silvia says some businesses have tried to avoid layoffs, but as the economy worsens, they've been left with no choice.

Mr. SILVIA: You hold on for as long as can. Business doesn't turn up, it doesn't improve, and you say, well, we're just going to have to cut this area, we're going to have to cut this division.

LANGFITT: Silvia cites Starbucks as an example. Earlier this week, the company said it would close a total of 600 stores and eliminate up to 12,000 jobs. The cutbacks seem in part a response to overexpansion, but analysts also suggested the move was an acknowledgement that the $4.00 frappuccino is a tougher sell in the age of $4.00 a gallon gas.

Frank Langfitt, NPR News, Washington.

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Employers Cut More Than 60,000 Jobs In June

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Some 62,000 jobs were cut from company payrolls in June, and the number of laid-off workers seeking benefits also rose sharply last week in further signs of a slowing U.S. economy.

The separate Labor Department reports Thursday seemed to underscore that the economy is in a substantial downturn, if not a recession.

The cuts in June marked the sixth straight month that employers have trimmed payrolls. Gains in education, health services, leisure and hospitality, and government were not enough to offset heavy losses in construction, manufacturing, business services and retailing.

Despite the cuts, the unemployment rate held steady after spiking to 5.5 percent in May. That marked the biggest over-the-month increase in two decades and left the rate at its highest since October 2004.

Meanwhile, the number of newly laid-off people signing up for unemployment insurance rose sharply last week, with new applications jumping by 16,000 to 404,000, the highest level since late March.

A year ago, jobless claims stood at 322,000.

The four-week moving average of claims, considered a less volatile measure, rose last week to 390,500, the highest since early October 2005.

So far this year, the economy has lost a total of 438,00 jobs, an average of 73,000 a month.

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