Washington – The U.S. economy registered a net increase of just 18,000 jobs in June, causing the unemployment rate to edge up to 9.2 percent, the Labor Department said Friday.
Those figures failed to meet the expectations of analysts, who had projected that 110,000 jobs would be added and the unemployment rate would remain unchanged at 9.1 percent.
The U.S. economy emerged two years ago from its deepest and most prolonged recession in almost eight decades, but economic growth remains too sluggish to recover the 8.4 million jobs lost during the crisis.
The net job gain in June was the lowest in nine months and followed a downwardly revised increase of just 25,000 jobs in May, less than half the initial estimate by the Labor Department.
A lack of more robust job growth also caused further wage stagnation in June and leaves little hope for an increase in consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of U.S. gross domestic product.
The private sector posted a net gain of 57,000 jobs last month, following an increase of 73,000 jobs in May. Analysts had been expecting a net gain of 132,000 jobs in the private sector in June.
Friday's unemployment report shows that "we still have a long way to go and a lot of work to do to give people the security and the opportunity they deserve," the president added.