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Morning Market Roundup: Unemployment Stuck at 8.2 Percent, U.S. Futures Down


Here’s what’s important in the business world this morning:

Unemployment: U.S. employers added only 80,000 jobs in June, a third straight month of weak hiring that shows the economy is still struggling three years after the recession ended.

The unemployment rate was unchanged at 8.2 percent, the Labor Department said in its report Friday.

The economy added an average of just 75,000 jobs a month in the April-June quarter. That's one-third of the 226,000 a month created in the first quarter.

For the first six months of the year, U.S. employers added an average of 150,000 jobs a month. That's fewer than the 161,000 a month for the first half of 2011. And it suggests that three years after the Great Recession officially ended, the job market is weakening instead of strengthening.

A weaker job market has made consumers less confident. They have pulled back on spending, even though gas prices have plunged.

Spanish & Italian Rates: A week after financial markets greeted European leaders' decision to help economically-troubled Spain and Italy, the two countries saw their borrowing rates rise again on Friday, signaling resurging concern over the sovereign debt crisis.

The rate, or yield, for the Spanish 10-year bond was up 0.22 percentage points to 6.96 percent by early afternoon in Madrid. That level is deemed unsustainable over the long term and could push Spain to seek a full-blown bailout like Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

Italy's equivalent rate was up 0.13 percentage points to 6.01 percent. In comparison, Germany's bond - seen as a safe haven for investors - was commanding a yield of just 1.37 percent.

Both Spain's and Italy's yields fell sharply earlier this week in a wave of euphoria after European leaders agreed to channel aid directly to troubled banks, without further burdening a country's debt. They also agreed to make it easier for countries to get rescue loans and for the European bailout fund to buy bonds from other investors, which would lower countries' borrowing rates.

The summit decisions were generally seen as a step in the right direction in the resolution of the crisis, but the feeling is that more needs to be done - and faster.

U.S. Futures: Stock futures slid Friday after the U.S. added only 80,000 jobs in June, marking the weakest quarter for hiring in two years.

Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 68 points to 12,764. Standard & Poor's 500 futures slid 9 points to 1,352.40 and Nasdaq futures fell 15 points to 2,627.50.

China: China's government said Friday it will "properly handle" a U.S. complaint to the World Trade Organization about its anti-dumping duties on auto imports and doesn't want the latest in a string of trade disputes to harm relations.

"It is normal for frictions to occur," said a foreign ministry spokesman, Liu Weimin, at a regular briefing. "What is important is to properly handle it and not to let it impede friendly relations."

The U.S. complaint Thursday adds to a series of disputes with Beijing over market access for goods ranging from poultry to steel. Political tensions over trade are mounting as governments try to boost exports at a time of slumping global demand.

Washington accused Beijing of improperly imposing anti-dumping duties on American-made autos worth $3 billion. The Chinese duties of 2 to 21.5 percent affect cars and SUVs with engine capacity of 2.5 liters or larger.

A Commerce Ministry statement said Beijing will "properly handle the request for consultations under the WTO dispute settlement procedures" - the first step in resolving a complaint.

If consultations fail to resolve the issue, Washington can request a WTO dispute panel. A ruling can take 18 months to two years.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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