WASHINGTON, July 8 (UPI) -- The Labor Department said Friday the U.S. economy added 18,000 jobs in June, marking a second consecutive month in which the recovery appeared stalled.
The critical employment situation report showed 54,000 jobs added in the previous month, which was a sharp slowdown from April's 232,000 jobs added.
In June, the unemployment rate ticked higher from 9.1 percent to 9.2 percent. Partly on the strength of an Automatic Data Processing Inc. report, which showed 157,000 private sector jobs added in June, economists had expected the unemployment rate to decline to 9 percent.
In the Rose Garden at the White House, President Barack Obama said, "We still have a big hole to fill," and urged Congress to "advance trade agreements that will help businesses."
Mostly, however, Obama tried to put a hopeful spin to the report.
"Each new job that was created last month is good news for the people who are back at work ... but our economy as a whole just isn't producing nearly enough jobs for everybody who's looking," he said.
Economics professor Peter Morici at the University of Maryland called it simply "another lousy jobs report."
"The economy must add 13.7 million jobs in the next three years -- 382,000 each month -- to bring unemployment down to 6 percent. Considering layoffs at state and local governments and likely federal spending cuts, the private sector jobs must increase at least 400,000 a month to accomplish that goal," Morici said.
Austan Goolsbee, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, downplayed the data.
"It is important not to read too much into any one monthly report," he said in a statement.
Nevertheless, reports covering May and June show manufacturing has lost the momentum it sustained for the first four months of the year.
Manufacturing "has been flat for the past two months," the Labor Department said. Following a total gain of 164,000 jobs November to April, in the latest report the sector "changed little," adding 3,000 jobs.
Growth was noted in leisure and hospitality, which gained 34,000 jobs. Mining jobs rose by 8,000. Healthcare continued a long trend higher, adding 14,000 jobs in June.
The average hourly earnings for private-sector jobs in June declined by 1 percent to $22.99. Over 12 months, hourly earnings have dropped 1.9 percent.
The average workweek also fell, down 0.1 percent to 34.3 hours and factory overtime "edged down by 0.1 hour to 3.1 hours," the report said.