July 8 - Wall Street finished lower for only the second time in nine sessions after dismal U.S. job creation and a rise in the jobless rate revived worries the recovery is stuck in neutral; Euro stocks fell on Italy concerns. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Wall Street limped into the weekend after surprisingly weak job growth curtailed hopes the economy is poised for a comeback. U.S. employers added only 18,000 jobs in the month of June, in the smallest job growth since September 2010. Meanwhile, the politically sensitive unemployment rate climbed to a six-month high of 9.2 percent from 9.1 percent the prior month. The disappearance of government jobs was a big factor, but weakness was seen across the board, making it hard for the 14.1 million Americans looking for work - to find a job. And those who are employed worked fewer hours and saw smaller paychecks, according to the Labor Department. The U.S. is in the midst of a lumpy recovery, explains Rutgers University Labor Economics Professor Bill Rodgers. BILL RODGERS, LABOR ECONOMICS PROFESSOR, RUTGERS UNIVERSITY (ENGLISH) SAYING: "That job growth is occurring, but not large enough, not high enough, not rapid enough, not fast enough, in order to be, to generate broad-based prosperity or broad-based gains, or broad-based recovery." The dismal report caused investors to scale-back hopes of a stronger recovery in the second-half of the year, slamming the brakes on a nine-day rally for the Nasdaq and pushing the rest of the market lower for only the second time in nine sessions. But the Dow held on to a fractional gain for the week and the Nasdaq rallied 1.6 percent. Oil prices were also down for the day, but up for the week, ending around $96 a barrel. Finally, worries Italy is not doing enough to prevent the debt crisis from spreading to its piazzas, added to a weak tone. Stock markets were down across Europe by about one percent to 1.7 percent. Conway Gittens, Reuters