Underlining the continued weakness of the US economy employers cut workers from their payrolls for the sixth straight month in June. The US Labor Department said 62,000 jobs were lost last month and May’s fall of 49,000 was revised upwards to 62,000.
The unemployment rate held steady at 5.5% of the working population. Job losses for the year so far are 438,000. The total number of people receiving unemployment benefit fell slightly to 3.116 million.
An indication of how the slowdown in the US economy and consumer spending is hitting companies came this week when Starbucks announced it is to close 600 of its coffee shops and get rid of as many as 12,000 people.
The weakening US labour market could mean that Federal Reserve policy makers, under chairman Ben Bernanke, might decide to delay an interest-rate increase designed to counter inflation.