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Census jobs end, but private hirings rise again

- The Washington Times - Friday, July 2, 2010

Businesses resumed hiring again last month, posting 83,000 openings in areas from health care to manufacturing, partially offsetting the layoff of temporary census workers, the Labor Department reported Friday morning.

The renewed growth of private jobs, even as 225,000 census workers lost their jobs, will come as a relief to Wall Street markets, where investors had been fearing a relapse in the nation's economy after job gains nearly stalled in May.

The relatively small job gain eked out during June helped to draw down the unemployment rate to 9.5 percent from 9.7 percent -- continuing a steady if unspectacular improvement seen since the rate peaked at 10.1 percent last fall.

"There's no double-dip, but no rapid recovery, either," said John Silvia, chief economist at Wells Fargo Securities. "It's reassuring to see gains in many sectors," suggesting that May's pause in job growth had no lasting impact on the economy.

The job news suggests the recovery overall has maintained its momentum and is growing at about a 3 percent rate so far this year -- not spectacular growth but strong enough to avert a relapse into recession, economists said.

"Market sentiment has been very negative ahead of the U.S. payroll release" and could improve on the news of resumed job growth, said Aroop Chatterjee, analyst at Barclays Capital. The stock market posted modest gains at the opening of New York trading Friday morning.

With the summer vacation season having arrived, businesses in leisure and hospitality added 25,000 jobs, while temporary help firms took on 21,000. Nearly 380,000 temp jobs have opened up since last September as employers tentatively added to staff in hopes the recession was over.

Health care jobs edged up by 9,000 while jobs in transportation and warehousing grew by 15,000. Mining activity - including oil exploration - increased as 7,000 support staff were taken on likely as the result of clean-up efforts for the BP oil spill.

Some sectors experienced no job growth, however, including construction and state and local government. Hours and wages were relatively depressed as well, with the average workweek declining 0.1 hour to 34.1 hours.

Average hourly wages posted a rare decline of 0.1 percent to $22.53, bringing their yearly increase in wages to a paltry 1.7 percent.

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