The unemployment rate across 39 states and the District fell in June, but this is far from good news. Instead, it reflects renewed pessimism about the economy as employers put the brakes on hiring and people stopped looking for work.
While 41 states saw net job gains in May, only 21 saw an increase in June, the Labor Department said Tuesday. Businesses are holding off on hiring new workers, with private employers adding a mere 83,000 jobs last month.
The numbers reflected a temporary phenomenon: the layoff of thousands of temporary workers for the U.S. Census Bureau. But in a month when home construction and retail sales numbers missed expectations and corporate earnings reports were lackluster, they sent stocks tumbling early Tuesday before they erased most of their losses in the afternoon.
Nationally, the unemployment rate fell to 9.5 percent in June from 9.7 percent in May.